September 18, 2020 § 6 Comments
The billboard said, “Experience God.” But I read, “Experienced God.”
I often misread those flash-by signs meant to sell me something. “Experience God” would have come and gone without me thinking about it, but “Experienced God” caught my attention…and if there was an experienced God, was there, perhaps, an inexperienced God?
I spent many miles wondering about the possible screw-ups of such a God. Would an inexperienced God be like a boy scout who has just made Eagle? Would a God with that shiny miraculous medal freshly pinned to their chest know the etiquette, understand the magnitude of their new power, practice self-restraint?
Or would an inexperienced God want to show off, work a few gratuitous miracles, or indulge in smiting or other Old-Testament-worthy disasters? Would an inexperienced God be reckless, like a teen given the keys to the family car for the first time?
Would this Johnny-come-lately God raise the eyebrows of old-hand gods and remind them of their own early missteps.
Remember my plague of locusts?
Remember my flood, the one that drowned all dry land?
Remember when I invented camels and dromedaries just so I could say, one hump or two? Remember that competition to see who could create the creature with the largest nose?
Good times… good times.
I can just see the old gods shaking their heads and chuckling. Kids. Whatcha gonna do?
Would an inexperienced God have to learn by overreaching, making on-the-job mistakes like, say, sending down a show-offy pandemic to bring creation to heel and turn it toward the almighty power of a novice God with so much to prove?
If so, I hope that in his omni-presence the guy recently elevated from “he” to “He” is reading this post.
Dear Inexperienced God,
We are so impressed! Your pandemic has garnered more attention than any hurricane, catchy tune, or viral video of puppies. But it has gone on long enough. You have our attention! We would now like you to show us a different God-trait. Mercy. If you are unsure how to perform the miracle of raining down the balm of mercy, please check in with one of the old hands, maybe the God who inspired Jonas Salk, or the God who decided that warm weather could abate the seasonal flu. Seriously. We are wearing a little thin here.
Humanity (the ones who did not get the largest nose, but who do enjoy that quirky line about the camel and the dromedary). Just tell us when we can take these masks off—and thanks in advance.
Note: I know that I use the male pronoun for God. It would not feel right to use “it,” and, at the risk of sounding sexist, I think that few “Shes” would show off in this manner.