Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A God Too Small

flickr/via tsuji

I enjoy a story about baseball great Joe Garagiola. He once stepped to the plate when his turn came to bat. Before assuming his stance, however, fervent Roman Catholic Joe took his bat and made the sign of the cross in the dirt in front of home plate. Catcher Yogi Berra, also a devout Catholic, walked over and erased Garagiola's cross. Turning to the astonished batter, Berra smiled and said, "Let’s let God watch this inning."

If I were God (and thank goodness I’m not), I think I would have wanted to simply watch the inning.

I likewise appreciate the story about an old Quaker who stood during the church meeting and told his fellow Friends about a young man who was not a Quaker and who lived an undisciplined life. This young man invited a pious Quaker friend to go sailing one day. A sudden storm came up and the wild young man was drowned. Having made his point, the old Quaker sat down.

Silence returned to the meeting until the old man once again arose. This time he said, "Friends, for the honor of the truth, I think I ought to add that the Quaker also drowned."

And if I were God (and again, thank goodness I’m not), I think I would have felt sadness for both losses. Neither was a greater tragedy than the other.

I know that religious piety can be a wondrous and beautiful thing. But it disturbs me the prominent role religions have historically played in wars and brutality over the ages. If I imagine a god so small as to favor those who think like me, worship like me and act like me, then I know very little of life and less of faith. I can’t help but think this world would be in better shape if the gods many of us believed in were a little bigger.

-- Steve Goodier

6 comments:

Loren M. Gelberg-Goff said...

You say it just right... if only we could all just be willing to let go of the judgments that have held sway for way too long, and live with an acceptance of ourselves. I truly believe that living with accepting and respecting ourselves puts us in a better place to be able to accept and respect others. As Gandhi said so eloquently: "Be the change you want to see in the world"... Welcome back... I love getting your messages! All the best, Loren

Anonymous said...

This is such an awesome article!!! And so true. Acceptance of people of all beliefs, regardless of whether they match yours or not would solve so many of our problems.
Keep up the good work! Your writings are spectacular!

Janna

Anonymous said...

We get into so much trouble when we try to reduce God to a finite entity that our simple minds can comprehend. By doing so, we imbue God with all the weaknesses and prejudices of our own human-ness, which leads us to committing all sorts of atrocities in His name. As St. Augustine said, "And if you understand, then it isn't God."

Thank you, Steve, for your wonderful words of inspiration. You truly do offer us "life support."

Anya

Inside Looking Out said...

I have been a subscriber for years, but this posting was especially moving and relevant.
Thanks for your bits of inspiration and motivation.

I hope you don't mind that I put a link to your website and blog on my blog.

Rene'

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anya for your helpful comment otherwise I couldnt understand the real meaning of this blog cuz I m not a native English speaker. Also thanks to the writer for taking this subject, but I think he seems to put the blame on God for human misbehavior, instead of pointing to the bad - intentioned ones doing a lot of mishandling in God's name. I wish I could have contact with you. Wishing you all the best. Take care & stay well

bratsis said...

I feel as you do that God is not so small as to only encompass MY beliefs. What a wondrous and magnificent world this would be if we allowed each other to worship in whatever way we chose yet know that God loved us all, regardless of the differences.

After all, we have many different cultures, languages and skin colors. Why not have different ways to worship our God? Yet, this is the same God that many try to selfishly claim ownership. How petty and small a view of the creator of this wondrous universe that we live in.