The Show Must Go On

attila

“This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. (Zechariah 4:6)

I’m all gung-ho for God doing his thing. From what I’ve read in the Bible, he’s capable of some pretty jaw-dropping moves. Ain’t nobody can send fire from the sky like he can. And who can do floods, plagues, and general carnage like Mr. Supreme Being? Even his quieter routines are impressive; healing the sick, walking on water, rising from the dead—all nicely executed with a minimum of fuss. There’s no question: for sheer show-stopping chutzpah, YHWH gets the nod.

It’s when he doesn’t hop through the holy hoops that we’ve got ourselves a situation. Which is most of the time it seems. I’d say that the old Holy Ghost is pretty much making a habit of not showing up these days. Okay. So maybe he’s still showing up—he is under contract, after all—but he’s definitely sitting on his hands somewhere near the back of the balcony section. Which means we’ve got to cover for him somehow. Doing church is far too important to suspend just because God is playing hard to get.

You’d think that replacing God would be a tall order, but it’s really been pretty easy. We’ve actually come up with a ton of substitutes for our reluctant deity. Some churches do a liturgy, for example. This is when the congregation reads a script at each other. The script includes creeds, recited prayers, boxed hymns, and the Lord’s supper. Most of the time the congregants are just too busy reading the script to notice that the Holy Ghost has fallen asleep. In fact, if the Ghost did attempt some kind of showing during the liturgy he would get his divine butt ejected ASAP. The cool thing about the liturgy is that the Holy Ghost is unnecessary, which serves him right for going into early retirement.

If you’re not into liturgy, you can opt for Bible thumping. Bible thumping is sort of like road rage except with a shirt and tie. Thumpers have a lot going for them. For one thing, they know the Bible better than God does. This comes in handy when there’s no Ghost power in the house. Thumpers are able to generate enough heat to warm the place, which is good enough for most of those in the pews. Thumpers do a lot of banging, shouting, finger-pointing, and sweating—none of which God seems inclined to do these days. On a good Sunday morning, a thumped congregation gets a snootful of rip-roaring religion that goes down like a shot of moonshine.

Among the religiously hip (who think liturgy is for deadbeats and thumping is annoying) God has been successfully replaced by vibe. Vibe is what you want. Vibe is that inner thing that connects you to yourself and the universe. Vibe is what God would make happen if he were around. Vibe makes religion cool. Vibe is actually better than God, if you think about it.

Basically what I’m saying here is that if God isn’t going to do his thing anymore, then he can’t complain when we figure out how to do the show without him. The whole lame situation is pretty much his fault anyway. When God starts out with a big bang but then wimpers out on us, what can he expect? Does he think we’re just going to sit around and mope? We sure as heck aren’t going to stoop to beg him for a few tricks. If he doesn’t want to play anymore, the heck with him; we’ll play the game by ourselves. His loss.

Who knows? Maybe he’ll get jealous and jump back in. I’m not holding my breath though.

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