Speaking of Cusack, join me in our very own Hot Tub Time Machine:
Dear God: it’s me, Scotticus. First off, I want to thank you for so many things -– springtime, basketball, The Sopranos, John Cusack movies -– so as not to seem overly critical. As for Earth, I love what you’ve done with the place. Your sense for drama is absolutely Scorsese-esque, especially that bit with Saddam Hussein coming out of the spider-hole with his Lyle Lovett hair and Jim Belushi demeanor:
"I wish to negotiate." Classic.
Having said that, I’ve got some pretty serious clergy-stumpers that I’d feel much better having answers to. For instance, I saw Mel Gibson’s new movie about your kid, and it got me to thinking: that was your kid. Yeah, yeah, "part God" and all, but if I have my theology right, when Deus Jr. was on the cross –- bleeding, bruised, broken -– he was flesh, blood, scooped-him-up-when-he-fell-off-his-bike human. So from there I began to wonder, was that really justice?
The way I learned it in Vacation Bible School, Jesus had to die in my place because he was perfect. For me to die wouldn’t have paid even the interest on my debt, having once lied to my mom about drawing on the furniture with permanent markers, so you called in a Holy Ringer. That’s where the logic gets muddy to me. Why am I absolved through the breaking and destruction of the only perfect human you ever made? In which part of your wonderful universe is that just?
If I saw a man murder my family, I wouldn’t sigh the great sigh of closure by seeing his sweet, elderly, Wal-Mart-greeter aunt writhe in the electric chair in his place. People point to your fourth-quarter Messiah substitution as proof positive of just how much you love us, but that doesn’t feel like justice at all; in fact it kind of makes my stomach churn.
I want to be on your team. Believe me, I love Max Lucado books as much as the next guy, and Mike Breaux can flat-out preach. Your theme songs are always catchy, and your pleasant promises of paradise take the acid-reflux out of life, but I’m not the first who needed to put his finger in the wounds to believe -– and Thomas used to fish with the guy.
I see your chosen people getting sand kicked in their face by everyone from Pharaoh to Hitler to Arafat, and that leaves me almost as dumbfounded as the fact that you have a "chosen people" to begin with.
But all digression aside, my overall point is so disturbing that I cannot be content to fully claim it without begging, pleading, even praying to be shown the light which so many insist is there; so here goes:
I think maybe you’re wrong.
Now hear me out. I know the Bible says you are infallible, but to be fair it was your book. Richard Clarke practically claims he foresaw terrorist attacks in tea leaves in his book. If I wrote one, I’d be the coolest character in it too. I’d see the future, possess a perfect sense of justice, love everyone, and be able to pull off that trick where Superman could see Lois Lane’s undies through her nightgown.
It’s not that I don’t think you are who you say you are. Evidence and instinct screams that there is a creative, even artistic force behind the universe, and I believe that force is most certainly you. But I was created with a mind capable of astounding feats of reason (in fact it is my gift just as bears have claws and puppies have cuddliness) and there are moments among your record where you and I seem to simply disagree. Remember that time when you and Moses commanded the Israelites to pike the heads of the Midianites, scolded the army for leaving the women alive, then ordered them to take the virgins -– most likely preteens -– for themselves (Numbers 31:3-18)? I wasn’t on board for that. And earlier, when you put Pharaoh up as a patsy to show off your best tricks, one of which was killing firstborn children (Exodus 10:1-2), well you left me with a little head-scratching then too. But the real rub is the crucifixion. What parent expresses love to his naughty children by nailing the one who behaves to a tree?
In the end, it’s your world. Even if you are wrong, you wrote the rules and you pick the winners. But you created this brain in my head, and if the ultimate gesture of humanity as you created it is to deny the very rationality and morality that sets me apart from the gerbils in favor of blindly following you, then I’m afraid I cannot suit up this time. Give my regards to Walter Matthou, and if I’m wrong, then I truly pray you help me piece it together before the final horn blows.
PS – Thanks again for the springtime.