“Open your eyes and look within. Are you satisfied
with the life you’re living?”[ii]
On June 19, 2017 George Yancy challenged you via New York Times opinion piece to consider is your God Dead?
What does it mean to believe in a “Living God?” My belief is in a living God. However, I cannot attest to having seen him in person, to have heard his voice, or felt his touch. My God is not available to me with the realm of the five senses. I have experienced my God with a subjective sixth sense, a spirituality that relies on intuition, faith, and the grace of God. My belief, however, is useless to the seeker of God who has no access to the presence of God within him.
We do have traditions, manuscripts, and archaeological evidence for much of the scriptural text that have been preserved and passed down to us. Still that is a dead letter as well without something more.
Yancy argues that your God, or at least the God of many is dead. The evidence is all around us as we collectively accept the poverty and inhumanity of the Human condition. He makes his point very personal. Raises it on an individual level as to what do you represent as the living word of your God. In the end, belief without action is not belief at all. He quoted Friedrich Nietzsche’s observation:
“There was only one Christian and he died on the cross.”
A very pessimistic view indeed amidst all the suffering and chaos we see today. That being said, our biblical ancestors were not free of terrible suffering, oppression, and sin either. Our religion has evolved and progresses with our progression as a human species.
We are at a turning point in America that is stunning. We profess outwardly belief, but when pressed our convictions can be witheringly weak, our actions hypocritical, and our proximity to a conscious understanding and unity with God shattered. Yet many will wear their affiliation on their sleeve. Affiliation and baptism alone will not alleviate our guilt. What guilt? You go to church. You pay your taxes. You voted pro-life. You even gave to charity! You pray often. Perhaps this is not enough:
After all, prayer and rejoicing can also function as forms of narcissism, as ways to drown out the screams of the poor, the oppressed.
It is not enough if we walk by our neighbor in distress, if we support global poverty and oppression, if we stand idly by as our democracy turns its back on both local and global responsibilities. This can and should be a nightmare for us as Christians and other faiths as well:
“The prophet’s word is a scream in the night.” I wait to be awakened by that scream. I have not yet heard it. It is that scream, that deep existential lament, that will awaken us to the ways we are guilty of claiming to “love God” while forgetting the poor, refusing the refugee, building walls, banning the stranger, and praying and worshiping in insular and segregated “sacred” spaces filled with racism, sexism, patriarchy, xenophobia, homophobia and indifference.”
If we are at all spiritual, the prophet’s words must be ringing in our souls during quiet contemplation. Perhaps it is a simple as a Marley song, open our eyes, look within, and examine if we are satisfied with the life we are living?
Yancy concludes the article with the following quote:
“I await the day, perhaps soon, when those who believe in the “God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob” will lock arms and march on Washington, refusing to live any longer under the weight of so much inhumanity.”
If your God is not dead, reveal him to others in your actions and words. Keep your prayers to yourself – but let the light of your God shine brightly in compassion and love of all people.