Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pray to God, But Row For Shore???

So, I am finding today's reading from Jeremiah challenging. Here is my paraphrase (and, of course, the fact that it is MY paraphrase could be half the problem...) Men who rely on themselves and other humans are like a bush in a desert, but a man who trusts in the Lord is like a tree by a stream and doesn't have to worry about drought.

I guess my issue much should we rely on God, and how much should we rely on ourselves? Obviously, I think there is a combination needed, but I don't know how to work that out in my head!

I watched a Dr. Phil the other day about a couple with 7 kids and no job...they were relying on God perhaps too much, because the husband wasn't really working to improve the situation. I felt for the couple because they got dragged on the Dr. Phil show by the wife's parents, and they weren't bad or lazy people...they just kept waiting for a sign/a direction from God...but in the mean time, things were just getting worse for them. Obviously, I don't think that God wanted this family to fall into such dire straights (they were living in a house with no water and no gas and were a week or two away from foreclosure), but I am sure that God will use it for their good.

Of course, I think it is a lot more common in our society to rely too much on ourselves and to ignore God...there are thousands of examples of that all over the place. But what is the happy median? How do we make sure that we are relying on God, but working towards something (hopefully, God's will)?

We're planning on going to daily Mass this evening, so I'm hoping that Father's homily is on this reading!


Whimsy said...

I think this is an appropriate post to follow on the heels of a post on spiritual direction.

What immediately springs to my mind is Matthew 25:14-30, the Parable of the Talents, in which three servants receive money from the master, two invest it and one buries it.


I once heard that one reason why science in the Islamic world stalled out after the vestiges of Christian culture dissipated is that Islam does not recognize secondary causes. The example was given that this man took a cab in the MidEast, and the cab driver checked to see the gasoline level by lighting a match at the mouth of the tank. The two Westerners were alarmed, but the cab driver said if they blow up it is only because it was God's Will.

Since I did not watch the show, I cannot comment on it directly, but this family may not be giving sufficient consideration of secondary causes. It would be a shame to "bury" the gift of children by smothering them in poverty and public shame.


Diego said...

I think religion is going a little bit too far in some cases. And I could probably write a book (or ten for that matter) on the subject because religion in any form is so vague, leaves so much room for interpretation that it's just idiotic to ACTUALLY sit and wait for a sign from God. (I read this book on religios beliefs once and there was this story about a certain african tribe if I remember correctly that often migrated. And they worshiped a god in the form of a ... totem that they always carried with them -this was like the center of the world for them, an idea of a pillar that links heaven and earth -. And one day the totem was destroyed somehow and they were so overwhelmed that they just stoped in that very spot and just sat down and died. This is how much they believed. And while I find that very beautiful in a poetic, ideological kind of way, I find it disgusting when mentally underdeveloped primates still do stupid things like this in our day and age.) The more you read about religion (any religion) the more you realise that it's only a feeble HUMAN attempt for answering those special questions: why are we here, what is the purpose of our lives, is there life after death etc etc. I have come to a point in my life where I no longer believe in religion. I still like to believe in a higher power, life after death etc. but not in the way that the bible presents it; I don't believe that going to church every sunday or praying every night will make me a better person or get me into heaven or ... you get the idea. (If you haven't please watch the movie THE MAN FROM EARTH to better understand what I'm talking about - of course I don't really believe that the movie could be, how should I say, inspired from a true story, but the idea is that it gives a POSIBLE alternative that CAN'T BE DISPROOVEN). And that's the problem with religion ... it baisicly sais: "JUST BELIEVE! It doesn't matter that it doesn't make sense. JUST BELIEVE IT !" And that's what that family with the 7 children are doing ... JUST believing. Now the problem here is that we live in a cause & effect type of universe so let's say God will help you BUT, basicly, if you don't work you won't be able to feed your family. You can believe as much as you like ... "paint a pumpkin black, it don't turn it into a bowling ball" :) ... And don't even get me started on those suicide bombers ... freakin' idiots. :D