Farewell to Theism

Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting which left 26 people, mostly children, dead. During that week, I wrote this post but didn’t publish it:

Any last vestiges of my personal belief in a theistic concept of God died with those children on Friday. No, an all-powerful, all-good God would never allow this.

I’ve been praying more. Not to Theos [Brian McLaren’s name for this concept of God], but to Jesus – the living breathing suffering broken life-force I call God. This isn’t about power and control, or even life and death. I don’t know what it’s about, except for being. Love, courage, hope and peace in the face of stinking rotten evil.

The God to whom I pray knows intricately the spider-web of actions, emotions, abuses, weather patterns, disasters, hungers, desires, kisses and curses that drove a man to gun down his mother and a roomful of children in mad cold blood. This God is all, not all-anything.

I have no idea about a point or a lesson to be learned from such a nightmare. I only have a softened broken heart and a longing for peace.

I still do. Every year. Like Bono sings,

Heaven on Earth
We need it now
I’m sick of all of this
Hanging around
Sick of sorrow
Sick of the pain
Sick of hearing again and again
That there’s gonna be
Peace on Earth . . .

Jesus in a song you wrote
The words are sticking in my throat
Peace on Earth
We hear it every Christmas time
But hope and history won’t rhyme
So what’s it worth?
This peace on Earth

Peace on earth, in the tradition of the Christmas story, is a baby-child. A mother’s arms. A starry night, a song, a meeting of strangers in a barn.

It’s a start.

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