Posted by Chris on April 05, 2001 at 11:20:30:
While, I'm generally disappointed in bumper-sticker theology, I really like the title of this post. It seems to sum up a lot of the power and conflict involved in this discussion (on both sides). It can be slightly revised to describe most of the posts in this discussion:
There is a God ... and you're not him.
There is a God ... and we are him.
There is not a God ... and we are him.
There is not a God ... and I'm not sure there's a you.
There is a me ... and you're not her or him.
God, in all these arguments is "other". An "Other" to me or an "other" so someone else we'd like to have contact with. Even the most inclusive portrayal of God will be an afront to someone. My gut feeling is that any statement of almost any absolute will inspire a rebelious urge in most people. That desire to use another's stements as a springboard for our own opinions, that urge to interupt with a "Yes, but..." makes even the most agreeable statement something "other" than what we'd like to say.
Any portrayal of God, here or not, inside or outside, will probably inspire a contrary response. The only religious statement I've found that people can generally agree with is this:
If there is a God ... I'm not him.
(Even those people who secretly hope that they ARE God will agree that I am not.)
I see in this general discussion, people trying to state their strongest personal philosophies, or their gravest personal doubts, or their suspicions about the staements of others (with the occasional flippant response thrown in to break the tension). I see this kind of speaking out as tremendously freeing and perfectly natural. That said, freedom can often be painful to obtain and lonely to hold. Nature can often leave one cold, hungry and desperate. There is great beauty and power in the ideas we present, even truth and, hopefully, tenderness. Eventually, though, we ask each other and we ask ourselves,
"Why are we talking about these things that are so hard to agree upon?",
"why bother to voice my opinion or question someone elses'point of view?",
and "How can I 'wrap this up' in a way that I will find satisfying?"
For me, there is a challenge in trying to resolve discussions in a way I hope will acknowledge the "other", the listener, the reader, the opponent, the supporter. That resolution generally takes the form of:
There is a you ... and I'm not you.
We all want to say something true, something valuable for others, something that will stand on it's own merits and produce good results and represent our best intentions even after we've logged off and gone to bed. We hope our words are attractive, or honest, or heart-felt enough that they can take on a life of their own in this way.
If this is true of we few people, writing about God, could it be true of God, writing about us?
Could God simply leave us with a statement like:
"There is a you ... and I'm not you" ?
Many people seem content with this kind of statement - acknowledgement of their own existence and a vague sense of deference from God. For me, I'd rapidly become tired of deference. I feel unsatified (and unsatisfying) by defining myself as a negative. I'd want to say, clearly and simply:
There is a me. I'm Me. I Am.
It seems like that statement makes it a lot easier to then say:
there is a You
I know there is a you as well as I know there is a me.
For me (the author of this mental exercise) I learned everything about how to say "I'm Me" from following God's efforts to say the same thing TO me.
So let me resolve this by saying:
There is a God...There is a Me...There is a You
and it is my great hope that there will be: a We.
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