“You are my face onto the world. And onto each other--you, whom I love.”
Welcome to God: An Autobiography, The Podcast. A dramatic adaptation and continuing discussion of the book God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher by Jerry L. Martin.
He was a lifelong agnostic, but one day he had an occasion to pray. To his vast surprise, God answered- in words. Being a philosopher, he had a lot of questions, and God had a lot to tell him.
Read God: An Autobiography, As Told To A Philosopher.
Would You Like To Share Your Experience With God? We Want To Hear About Your Spiritual Journey!
GOD: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY - THE PODCAST
JLM - Narrator (Jerry L. Martin) - voiced by Scott Langdon
Jerry - Jerry Martin - voiced by Scott Langdon
GOD - The Voice of God - voiced by Jerry L. Martin, who heard the voice
EPISODE FIVE: Where I ask what we are to God
"It may happen in contemplation that we have a strange experience. We may have been reflecting on God in faith alone. Suddenly, God is present...a wall which was there before is there no more."
This spoke directly to my situation.
In "The Art of Praying: The Principles and Methods of Christian Prayer," Monsignor Guardini says there follows a period of divided reactions. "Our intuition tells us this is God or at any rate connected with Him. The intimation may frighten us (‘Yes,' I thought). We do not know whether we dare presume that intuition is true, and we are uncertain what to do (‘Yes, exactly’). However, the intuition becomes a certainty, even an absolute certainty which leaves no room for doubt (‘That is true also.’)”
However, Guardini says, doubts may return "when we discover that other people have no knowledge of these things."
Yes, the problem of what other people will think. This, he says, can lead to total unbelief.
"It may also happen that one doubts whether the whole experience had not merely been a delusion or temptation." Well, I never went that far. But, all is not lost.
"In the face of these difficulties and doubts one should remain calm and trust in God. One should submit to his will and pray for enlightenment. Thus, faith is fortified and love becomes pure."
Reading the New Testament, I came to the story of an angry Jesus driving the money lenders from the Temple (Mark 11:15-17): "And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves."
Lord, what am I to make of Jesus' temper?
People often irritated him.
Irritated him? If he is God, wouldn't he be above that sort of feeling?
Yes and no. You don't understand. Jesus is a human being, though he is also part of me. He is subject to limitations as well as benefits that result from that. He has feelings and emotions. That is why he can save the world so effectively. He is a model of how a finite creature, with all the pushes and pulls of emotions can nevertheless give boundless love.
Okay. That makes sense to me.
Like others before me, I wondered how a Supreme Being could possibly care about us human beings. Job asks (7:17-18) "What is man that you make much of him, that you fix your attention upon him--inspect him every morning, examine him every minute?"
Lord, what are we to you?
You are my face onto the world. And onto each other--you, whom I love. I want you to love each other. Christ's two commandments are right--"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind" and "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
They are rooted in the Old Testament. It is hard for me to love people directly--hard on them, that is. I need people to do it for me.
It seems that we open the world to God. He experiences the world through us. I remembered French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty's argument that, since perception is essentially perspectival--from a vantage point--there is literally no God's-eye point of view. We are His eyes and ears.
Lord, I have read that our grace or salvation had to be "purchased at a price," namely God's giving up his only son. I don't really understand this. Did you really suffer from giving up your only son?
It is more complex than that. God as Son takes on the suffering of mankind, takes it on quite literally, and co-suffers with mankind. I co-suffer with mankind. Otherwise, I would have put creatures in a fallen (limited) world and watched them suffer from a distance.
Moreover, my growth requires that I suffer. Suffering is the law of growth in the universe. There is even a form of suffering for sub-atomic particles--the constant disequilibrium and disruption of particles. Like muscles, things grow by being torn apart and healing.
Okay, so we suffer, Jesus suffers, and God suffers, but the question remains: How does the fact that suffering is divinely shared make anything better?