Monday, December 04, 2006

So Blest

The other day on my drive into work I saw a Lexus with the license plate "SO BLEST". Obviously, this was the driver's way of telling the world he would not take any credit for the good things in his life, instead giving the credit to God. This made me ponder, yet again, the concept of being "blessed".

I recalled the 'Christmas letters' tucked inside of Christmas cards from my old high school friend Krista. When we were friends in school I don't think Krista even went to church. But many years after graduation when we'd somehow found each other's addresses, and I'd gotten on her Christmas card list and learned from her 'Christmas letters' how she had 'found religion' and been saved. Each year I read about how "blessed" she was to finally meet and marry her husband Arthur, how "blessed" they were to learn she was pregnant, how "blessed" they were to buy a new car, and how "blessed" they were to be able to move into a larger house to accommodate their growing family as yet another "blessing" happened when they adopted a child.

Its not just fundamentalists - lots of people say that they are blessed, or refer to 'what a blessing it was' that something happened the way it did. I think it has become a synonym for being lucky.

For others I think it is a way to appear modest, since they sound as if they don't want to take credit for any of the "blessings". But in reality they are far from modest. Because, if we are to believe that all the good things that have happened to them are the result of God's "blessings", than we'd have to conclude that God was spending an awful lot of time and effort thinking about them and working in their life! Its as if they are saying 'Look how much God thinks about me - I'm so blessed!' Kind of like reverse modesty.

One might be able to simply chalk this up to silly human nature, like saying 'excuse me' after burping when you're completely alone. But there's an element of these "blessings" that starts to make me mad.

Supposedly Krista (and all the others like her) have all these goods things in their lives because God is "blessing" them. If that is true, what are to we to conclude about those who become quadrapalegic due to a terrible car crash? Does the fact that this happened to them mean that they are NOT "blessed"?

What about those who get terrible diseases like cancer, AIDS, and leukemia? Are they also NOT "blessed" by God?

And what about those who died on Sept 11, 2001 in and around the World Trade Center, Pentagon, and the hi-jacked plane that crashed to the ground in PA? How did all of those non-blessed people happen to be at the same place at the same time?

By claiming that good things happened to "blessed" people, one must also reason that bad things happen to non-blessed people, and I have a hard time swallowing that bitter pill.

Instead of Krista claiming that she and Arthur were "blessed" with a new car, perhaps they just made sound choices about how to spend and save their money, which ultimately allowed them to purchase the new car.

Instead of someone else 'modestly' suggesting that the success of their business was a real "blessing", perhaps they could credit their parents and teachers with helping to instill within them good business strategies.

Now, I don't mean to take credit away from God. I do believe that God is active and performs little and big miracles everyday. But I think God's real miracles/blessings are harder to confuse with sound financial choices and good study habits. When I think of God's daily miracles and blessings, they are different.

The 2am phone call from a friend that prevents a suicide attempt.

The unexplainable $20. bill a destitute mother finds in her wallet when she thought there was no money for diapers or baby formula.

The gay man whose family rejects him, but whose partner's family has enough love for them both.

They don't teach THAT in school.

Drag Queen name of the day: Bea Hive

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