I read a lot of books. Lately I have been reading a lot of books about God.
Now that I actually own the books, reading has become a multi-disciplinary event for me. I write copious notes in the margins and underline in blue, green and yellow marker. I draw brackets, stars, arrows and passionate explanation points, “Yes!” next to passages I love. My books have that “well loved” look to them.
I do not however, bend page corners over. I abhor the bending down of pages. My sister, a poet who taught me my love of books, also somehow taught me this. Somehow it seems like unperpetrated violence against the book. Funny isn’t it, where we each draw the line of right and wrong?
Lately I have been reading a lot of books about God. I didn’t know there were so many books about God. God probably doesn’t know there are so many books about God. I would think you would have to have name like Sir Reginald Oxberry Meticulous III to have so many books written about you. But no, its just 3 simple letters, G-o-d.
Books about God remind me of the pre-Galilean models of the solar system. Back then astronomers thought the earth was the center of the universe. In order reconcile the orbits of the planets that they observed (reality), with the belief that the earth was the center of the universe, they had to build elaborately complicated (and erroneous) models to explain the universe.
This reminds me of theology. It seems to me that theologians and clergy do elaborate gymnastics to prove why a kind and loving God allows such terrible things to happen in the world.
When I read books about God, I find that I often am intrigued by the questions, such as, “Why do bad things happen to good people and good things to bad people?” and, “Does healing prayer work?” and, “What happens when we die?” and, “Why is there suffering in the world?” But sadly, I am seldom satisfied with the answers.
The other consistency that I notice in books about God is the big words that authors feel compelled to use. The other day I was reading a book that was going off about the “urtext” and “theurgy.” Now I can urtext and theurgize with the best of them, but what’s the point? Why not just say “original text and “divine or supernatural intervention in human affairs?” I guess it might mess up the word count for a limerick, but it sure would be more accessible.
I once read that Renee Descartes, the father of modern philosophy, often wrote in the layman’s French rather than the Latin used by the academics of his day because he felt that everyone should have access to his work, not just the intellectual elite.
That is the kind of God book I am trying to write. No fancy models concocted to support the unsupportable. No bizarre words that require you to leave your comfy chair and go to your computer to look it up on. My goal is to write a book that keeps it simple, so that you can sit on the porch and read it while eating a bag of chips. Of course you may want to bring a pen to draw some arrows, stars and hopefully a few big exclamation points, “Yes!”
Now I better get back to writing……