While campaigning in Florida not that long ago, Michele Bachman “pulpitized,” saying, “I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to Me here?’”
Rep. Bachman’s comment, which she later called a joke, provided the media with a byte to chew on which, surprisingly, they did not overdo, but it left me thinking familiar thoughts.
Over many years as a therapist, I have met a good number of people who needed to blame God for just about any misfortune that happened to them or others – illness, job-loss, death of a loved one, auto accident, weather disasters, whatever.
Their feelings were real and had to go someplace. Easily understood.
But when I would ask, “What kind of God do you believe in?” they would go silent, their eyes saying, “What do you mean?”
I would answer the question in those God-blaming eyes by saying that I cannot bring myself to believe in a sadistic, serial-killer kind of God who sends and inflicts tragedy and catastrophe upon humankind for its misdeeds or shortcomings.
We are created human; that is, not whole or holy. In the fragility of every self, as well as our world and the universe, amid the chaos of all creation, life happens. And in its happening we learn to turn to God – or whatever – to try and make sense of it all. But in so doing sometimes we make God a scapegoat or garbage can for our feelings.
It has been said – and attributed to a few different thinkers – that God created us in God’s own image and likeness and ever since we have been trying to return the compliment. It felt as though Rep. Bachman was doing just that.
The fact of the matter is that what has been happening in our nation’s Capital and throughout our country for the past few but very long years is our own doing. We are the ones who have to listen, to fix things, earthquakes and hurricanes notwithstanding. Turning to God is not a bad idea, but we need more to turn to ourselves.
The coming months and next year’s election will not be very pretty. But if in the process we can take a step toward reclaiming the ideals of our Founding Fathers, seeking especially justice for all, God should be pleased.