I have heard from both trained theologians and from people who have heard of -- but never read -- the Bible that God has a specific plan for my life.
But then I ran across this explanation. It came from that sometimes-hilarious, always-trying satirical publication The Onion.
It's called, "God Has Kind of a Loose Outline for Us All."
"It may seem hard to believe," writes Kathleen Dillon, "but from the moment you were born, God has had a few rough ideas sketched out just for you."
In this piece, she even raises the old question of theodicy, which is to say the question of why, if God is good and powerful, there is evil and suffering in the world. (One answer -- quite biblical -- is recorded in the book of Genesis, which says that when God created the world he called it "good." Notice that God didn't call it perfect. Big difference.)
The theodicy question has no exhaustive answer. And yet it's one that we struggle with again and again.
Maybe the right response to such mysteries is simply to have some fun, throw a bit of satire God's way (God can handle it) and get on with living our lives. That's sort of what Bill Griffith, creator of the satirical comic strip "Zippy the Pinhead," was doing last week.
In one strip we see God sitting on the planet Earth, resting on the seventh day of creation and saying, "Th' beasts, th' birds, th' creatures of th' sea. . .all pretty good stuff. And man & woman. . .well, okay, I guess. . .but there's that unintended consequences thing. Who knew they'd immediately organize themselves into 362 different belief systems and start killing each other over statues and hairstyles? I should've built more roller coasters."
More roller coasters. Maybe that's what we're missing from the plan God has for each of us. Or not.
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EXPLAINING THAT KIM DAVIS MEETING
The Vatican now is downplaying the meeting Pope Francis had in Washington, D.C., with Kim Davis. Good. Maybe it means Francis agrees with my former Kansas City Star colleague Barbara Shelly that the meeting was a mistake. The meeting was the kind of tone-deaf error we came to expect from the previous pope, Benedict XVI. But it's nothing that can't be overcome, and it looks as if the Vatican already is busy trying to do that.
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P.S.: At 2 p.m. Sunday, the Kansas Interfaith Power & Light group is holding "An Interfaith Vigil for Climate Awareness and Action" outside Congregation B'nai Jehudah in Johnson County, Kansas. Here's a pdf with details: Download KIPL-release
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ANOTHER P.S.: This year's Interfaith Thanksgiving Community Dinner will be held Nov. 8 at Community Christian Church in Kansas City. It will honor my friend Ed Chasteen of Hatebusters. More information, including how to make reservations, can be found in this pdf file: Download TG-1025-FINAL-POSTER