The Best Thing I Read This Week Is …

by Ray Bartkus

… this from an article about depression in The Guardian by Giles Fraser:

God, for me, is the name of the struggle not its simple elimination. It is the wound and not the bandage, the question not the answer.

I read this a week ago and I haven’t stopped thinking about it.

What does it mean?  It seems like God and religion is an answer to many people.  Fraser is a “priest in charge” at a church in England, whatever that means, and God is the question?  You’d think for a priest it would be the answer.

God to me is that honest place inside of me that says, “I don’t know” and leaves it at that.  It is the space between hopelessness and hope.  God isn’t hope.  God is how I get from hopelessness to hope.  I don’t know how, but it happens.  I think God is never knowing the how.

I spent some time looking for an explanation for Fraser’s assertion and I found a podcast of a conversation he had with psychoanalyst Adam Phillips.  In it, Phillips argues that human beings are vulnerable, dependent creatures and we hate it.  Believing in a god is a way to deal with our inherent vulnerability and dependence on one another, according to Phillips.  He said something in the podcast that made me pause — when we judge others really what we’re doing is judging their vulnerability and how they deal with that vulnerability which deep down we despise in ourselves.  Think about that for a minute.

Instead of relying on God, Phillips suggests we ask ourselves how we could find more pleasure in one another: “We have to do everything we can to enable us to enjoy one another’s company. It’s the only game in town”.  Think about that, too.

I don’t know any more now than I did before.  I have more questions, I’m more uncertain, without any hope of arriving at any answers.  Maybe this is what God is and this is what Fraser meant.



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