Saturday, October 24, 2009

Understanding God

Reading, as many of you have, about the many problems of suicides, domestic violence, child abuse, murder-suicides and other signs of an increasingly sickening world, I thought of increasing one's understanding of God through the use of an old expression.

In English there is a traditional saying when describing someone who is mentally or emotionally unraveling, saying that he or she is "coming unglued." In that saying there is a tacit recognition that each human is "held together" by something, and that in trouble or illness there is a problem of falling apart.

For you to truly understand God you must recognize that God is the glue that holds individual persons and communities together. Without God (a genuine knowing of God, not idolatry) individual persons and communities as a whole risk coming unglued and falling apart.

Society, particularly relatively affluent Western society, has promoted "coming unglued" because not only is belief in God pushed out of the public square, but more fundamentally, society pushes the fragmentation of the individual and also of the society as a whole.

Let me repeat this. Even if God were still respected in the public square, society would still have tremendous problems because society has taken on a set of highly fragmenting values. Each person is evaluated with a list of scorecard types of attributes, for example, starting in their earliest childhood. Further, families have fragmented (become unglued), forcing even more individual fragmentation as family identity and safety net is lost. The home itself is often a dangerous place, even for the most helpless, the infants. It truly is "dog eat dog" and "every man for himself," even for the very young. With partially occupied residences and frequent moves, plus isolation from the community around a person (not being part of one's community by participation or emotional investment, and trust me, I know that's hard to do as they have become scorecard exclusionary) there is the fragmentation of the community and its social net too. With fragmented denominations even for those who still profess to believe in God, churches no longer have the gravitas to provide their share of glue, of community identity and safety net. Finally, marketers and media only speak to special interest groups, who they identify with, try to get money from by selling their products, and those they advocate and "relate" to, further fragmenting and ungluing individuals, families, communities and faith groups.

When one does not look to God to provide the glue that keeps body and soul together, individually and collectively, that is the wedge for then the lowering and lowest common denominators of society to fulfill the personal and community disintegration. That's why giving an alienated and depressed teenager, for example, information about God is not enough... the social and other environmental factors must also be addressed as a whole. Even a teenager such as this one in our example who values hearing about God, the true God, in their distress is not "cured" of their pain and alienation if the next day they go from their fragmented family to their fragmented school to be judged in the freak show society scorecard meat market.

Every few years or so researchers used to ask what kids want to be when they grow up, and then they'd analyze the results, looking at what occupations or interests raise or lower in popularity. But here is the problem. The past two generations don't want anything except to be "famous" with its twin non-vocation "get rich." That is the scorecard fragmentation I am speaking about. Young people want to be scorecard traits (famous, rich, "hot"), since that's what their parents, teachers, society, media and marketers have taught them, rather than to have occupations or vocations (including professions, clerical, labor, homemaker, parent, clergy, military...) They all want to do something or be something, rather than have an interest or a calling. It is not their fault: it is how society has become unglued, starting in the family and reaching its prime robotic programming in the classroom and the media.

So how does a sad and troubled teen "become famous?" Suicide. How does a teen escape a problem situation, from the most dire to the ones that in hindsight are only painful parts of growing up, when there is no safety net in family and community, and they've never been taught God as the glue? Suicide.

Now we also have the double whammy where a society that is only individual scorecard oriented now deprives individuals of their livelihoods. We no longer are a world where people can survive without a paycheck from somewhere. What do you have when someone lacks God as the glue, there is no church or community cohesion and safety net, and there is an economic desperation? Murder-suicide.


What did anyone think (when they took a break from their hits on the bong) would happen when the glue of God, authentic self esteem, family, community and church was continually removed? What does any idiot think would happen if one removed the glue from any structure that is made up of parts held together by that glue? It all falls down.