What the bleep do we know?

"Because nothing true can be said about God from a posture of defense." - Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

"Facts often have little to do with the truth." - Carolyn Forche

My driver's license tells you that my weight is 180 pounds and my height is 6'1". It also tells you that I live on such and such a street in such and such a town with a five-digit zip code. My primary vehicle is a minivan. My credit report tells you that I dinged a check in the spring and my checking account testifies to the way God still feeds my multitude on loaves and fish. I'm also writing a book right now, hopefully finishing it up in September. All factual, all verifiable, all something you could call and check out. But facts often have little to do with the truth. The truth is that I'm 6'1" in my cowboy boots and my weight is something I never, ever think about. The truth is that while I reside in a house on such and such a street, I tend to live in the past. I heard the theme from St. Elmo's Fire this afternoon on the easy listening station and it took me back to a rainy afternoon in jr. high, working on a science fair project at our little, round kitchen table, and I could smell the pine through the screen on the back door and my brother was playing in his room, while my mother prepared supper and dad was on his way home and all was right with the world as I knew it. And I wept for the boyhood God graced me with and prayed for something as beautiful for my own children. And while I occasionally drive a minivan, the truth is I hate it. I'd love to be driving a pickup truck with hay in the floorboards and old work gloves in the seat and four different hubcaps on the tires and toothpicks, new and used, in the little holder in the door and being able to glance in the rearview mirror and see my kids standing up in the bed and holler through the open window, "Hey, sit down or I'm gonna stop this truck." The truth is that my credit report and checking account are reflective of where I am in life right now - following stars and geese and God. And none of that path seems to include regular paychecks these days. The truth is I'm not writing a book; I'm laboring under a deadline. I agreed to write a book on Christian denominations in America and the money was right, but it's killing me because it's full of facts and facts often have little to do with the truth. I wonder what the real truth is about God? We know the facts, but do we know the truth? Does he really enjoy all those angels flying around all the time? Or does he occasionally say, "Hey, sit down or I'm gonna stop this truck?" Does he really live in heaven or does he tend to live in the past, remembering that blessed night in Bethlehem when the magic worked like never before? Or how about his first friends, Adam and Eve, and how they strolled in the cool of the day, probably enjoying some easy listening music and the smell of pines and feeling that all in the world was right? Or maybe he lives in the future and dreams of how it's gonna be, like ole' George always tells Lenny about in Of Mice and Men? Is he really a Democrat or Republican or does he never, ever think about that at all? And while the facts on his credit report might reveal delinquent moments by Visa's standards, the truth is that he continually rolls the dice on fools like me and stars and geese. And sometimes we shine and fly and sometimes we fall. Or just walk around honking, looking and feeling lost. And maybe the truth is that Christian denominations in America are killing him too; maybe literally, because facts often have so little to do with the truth.

1 comment:

  1. Reading this for the first time upon the recommendation of your girlfriend.

    We do make things harder than they have to be, don't we?

    I'm your number 2 fan. But i promise not to go all Kathy Bates on you.