Thursday, December 22, 2005

From A Distance

Bette Midler

From a distance, the world looks blue and green
and the snow-capped mountains white.
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
and the eagle takes to flight.
From a distance there is harmony
and it echoes through the land.
It's the voice of hope, it's the voice of peace,
it's the voice of every man.

From a distance, we all have enough
And no one is in need.
There are no guns, no bombs, no diseases,
No hungry mouths to feed.
From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace
They're the songs of every man.

God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance.

From a distance, you look like my friend
Even though we are at war.
From a distance I cannot comprehend
What all the fighting is for.
From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land.
It's the hope of hopes, it's the love of loves.
It's the heart of every man.

God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance.

No one is safe from the wrath of this blogger -- not even God! [Sit down, Joe. I wasn't talking about you!]

This blogger cannot tell you whether there is a God, and if there is, I won't be so presumptuous as to insist that you pray to Him -- or Her. Perhaps your God answers to Allah, Hashem, walks on water with the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, or is simply that voice within. Faith, taken for what it is and for what it could be, is for you to perceive, accept, understand, tolerate, and even question -- especially question (or not, if your belief gets you through either night or day -- or both -- so be it).

Are we but "sinners in the hands of an angry God," as Jonathan Edwards opined (no, not that Jonathan Edwards, although to some, he may be considered "all-knowing"), or can we declare with absolute conviction that "Holiness is doing God's will with a smile," as was the credo of Mother Teresa? Can't tell you -- and neither should anyone else.

This blogger, for all of his blasphemous posts, is more inclined to adhere to Einstein's theory of theology: "I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. [He was speaking of Quantum Mechanics and the breaking down of determinism.] My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God."

If, in fact, God is "watching us," then, who is watching God? Where God sits in judgment of man's deeds, holding us accountable (if not in this life, then in the next), should not man, created in God's own image, sit in judgment of the Almighty? Where does that line between bystander -- a witness to all that transpires -- and intervenor -- with a duty to act -- get drawn? Truly, the power to create is the power to destroy. [It often boggles this blogger's mind how One could plan and take full credit for the Great Flood (remember Noah?), yet claim no responsibility for the Tsunami or Hurricane Katrina. ("Oops. Nodded off for a second there. Sorry!").]

For much of the turbulent 60s, God was proclaimed by many to be "dead." ["Just resting my eyes. Oops. Missed another one. Sorry."] As we plod our way into the 21st Century, God has come back with a vengeance. A potentate with a mission -- on everyone's side. God wants you to pray. God wants you to strictly interpret the Constitution. God wants you to destroy the State of Israel. God wants you to boycott Target. Funny, and oh so odd, all the things we do in the name of God. [He should have gotten a trademark back in Biblical days, when He was still speaking to us through burning bushes. He'd be sitting pretty today behind those pearly gates!]

Suffice it to say, if there is an Eternal One, there is within that Creator, as in the created, the gift to bestow great and wondrous benevolence, and the capacity to deliver acts of horrific, unspeakable destruction.

If "thou shalt not take God's name in vain" was subject to strict interpretation, perhaps whatever it is we name our God -- whether personal or universal -- would not be invoked so as to sanctify Jihads, restraints on personal liberties, judicial appointments, and the ruthless demonizing of defenseless aquatic, chiefly marine invertebrate animals of the phylum Porifera, characteristically having a porous skeleton composed of fibrous material or siliceous or calcareous spicules. Aw, what the heck. It makes good banter on the Fox News Network, fills the pews with the holy rollers, and raises, well, that old proverbial stand-by, "more money than God."

Yes, "From a distance we are instruments, marching in a common band, playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace -- they're the songs of every man." But, that's from a distance.

This blogger cannot tell you if there is a God, let alone if He is watching us. Believe as you will -- or as you will not -- it remains for us to watch out not only for ourselves, but for all -- both the large and the small -- who inhabit and inherit this twirling sphere of swirling gases, azure seas, and impenetrable rock.

On behalf of everyone at The Community Alliance (anyone at The Community Alliance?) -- Okay, on behalf of this blogger alone, Happy Holidays, Festive Festivus, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Chanukah, Eid Mubarak, and, er, oh yeah, Merry Christmas. [To those who choose to celebrate nothing at all -- as is your right -- simply have a nice day! :-)]

May the New Year usher in a world at Peace, and let there be Good Will To Men, Women, Children, and every God-forsaken #@%&*! sponge on this good earth!
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Click HERE (or not) to join us in a "Prayer" For Peace -- in the language (and with a reverence) of your choice.
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