Are you there God?

No, it’s not Margaret.
It’s Eric. Long time no speak, eh?

How you doing? Family doing well?

Things are alright around here. I’m a lucky guy. I have four beautiful girls. One, I chose. The rest chose me. I’ve got a pretty good job, working with people I like for the most part. They treat me well, and though we’re not wealthy, we don’t want for much. I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, as I work from home every day, watching these girls with pride, wondering who they’ll turn into as they grow up. We’re getting a pretty good idea of the first one, and even the second. We really like what we see! Thanks for asking!

You’re right. I guess I do have something on my mind.

It’s kind of an uncomfortable subject to approach, though. You see, it occurred to me a couple weeks ago, that your name has a negative connotation for me. In some contexts, it bothers me more than others. For instance, “In God We Trust” doesn’t bother me. At least not in appropriate contexts. The phrase “God Bless America” irritates the bejesus out of me, though. Partially because of Lee Greenwood’s song. Partially because I think it’s awfully presumptive that you’ve not got something else going on of a higher priority, and partially because I’m not sure that we give you much reason to be proud these days.

To be fair, my irritation with the very mention of your name isn’t your fault. It’s guilt by association. You don’t have to look very far to see people doing things in your name that I think that you would find not only disappointing, but downright distressing. When was the last time someone was put over God’s knee? 😉 So far, I’m impressed by Pope Francis. He really seems to be trying to get people’s heads on straighter. Getting people to pay attention to things that matter. Loving your neighbor. Taking care of those less fortunate. I certainly don’t agree with him on everything, but still…great choice. He’s really got his work cut out for him, though. And that’s just with the Catholic Church.

Many of the other denominations seem to be experiencing a similar identity crisis. I’m sure you’re aware, but we have groups (I won’t mention them by name, as I don’t want to send anybody there that doesn’t know about them) that actually picket funerals! Can you believe that? Scourge of humanity, really. How can you look yourself in the eye when you knowingly go out to cause people further anguish in some of their times of deepest pain? Or, the churches that actually coordinate Quran burnings, antagonizing millions, knowing just how incensed they would be if it was the Muslims burning the Bible.

Somehow, as a people, we’ve forgotten that Jesus was a brown skinned socialist. We seem to have overthrown his ideals in favor of the Church of Me. More people are worried about their brother’s speck than their own log, y’know? We condemn your children who are wired just a little bit differently, and prefer the same sex, even though it’s not unique to humans, but have no similar condemnation for those who demonstrate gluttony and greed at every turn.

So, unfortunately, I think your image is being degraded by who you’re being associated with. That’s the best reason I can come up with that I actually have an unpleasant reaction to reading your name. Many years ago, I was raised Catholic, all the way through Confirmation. But, if I’m being honest, the church turned me off. I’ve never been certain about what I think, but I was pretty sure that you and I would be alright, as long as I am treating people we respect, and living my life in a fashion that I can be proud of. So, while some would call this a crisis of faith, I’m pretty comfortable with where I am.

I’m pretty damn proud of who I’ve become. I’m proud of who my girls are becoming. I’ve been blessed, over and over again, even as an agnostic. But, I plead with you, please do something about your followers. It’s disheartening, because I’m pretty sure that a hefty percentage of them would step over their brother on the way to the bank.

Your good name, sadly, depends on it.