Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Invoking GOD

*cough* I should probably just warn you up front that if you believe God interferes in the minutiae of every day life, I am likely to offend you. Please, consider yourself offended and don't read any further.

On Monday night I watched part of the Oregon/Auburn game, then took my bath and wrote, then watched the fourth quarter. It was SO CLOSE. Oregon made a touchdown with only a few minutes left to tie the game... And then the damn Auburn whatevertheyares made a field goal in the last 2 seconds. LITERALLY: TWO FREAKING SECONDS. I was SO SAD.

And then the coach gets on (I was watching ESPN online) and starts talking about GOD DID THIS.

And here my rant will begin.

DOES THIS A$$HAT THINK GOD LIKES AUBURN ALABAMA BETTER THAN FREAKING OREGON? Clearly he has never BEEN to Oregon!  I mean no disrespect for my BELOVED friends in the south (and especially not adored Alabaman Leigh, though I know Leigh was rooting for Oregon), but THIS IS OREGON! The best state there IS!

besides THAT

DOES THIS JERK THINK GOD WATCHES AMERICAN FOOTBALL? GOD, if he has any taste at ALL is watching Australian Rules Football and rooting (and I mean rooting in the Australian sense of the word) for the Adelaide Crows! (But seriously... do we WANT a God distracted by sports?) I mean maybe if Auburn were playing Hell's Devils or something... But these are the Oregon DUCKS!

And then a player comes on saying the SAME FREAKING THING!

So I will declare it now, I am NOT reelecting God if he is interfering in College Sports. He DOES NOT have my vote next election.

I'm not formally religious (as you may have guessed) but I am generally respectfully at peace with other people believing what they do, but this week:

-A congresswoman was SHOT and—what 9? people KILLED because a mentally ill nut was channeling Sarah Palin (whether he was aware of it or not)

-A friend lost an extended family member to SIDS

-Australia is flooding and our friend Al has two daughters STRANDED there (though thankfully safe)

-There are clashes killing people in Sudan.

Do we honestly think God is worried about a freaking college football game?

NOW: If you feel called to invoke God as an explanation for something in the future, I give you this warning:

Take a look at who LOSES. Do you REALLY think God would pick sides that way? Good versus evil, fine—attribute away... sports? Not so much. (I would even venture to claim he stays out of war, but I won't mock you for disagreeing here--I just happen to agree with the quote that God is on the side of the heaviest artillery)

Look at the scale. Is this thing you are attributing about WORTHY? You think God would BOTHER?

And... in the case of grief... do you think the invocation HELPS? I will admit that when a person is old, saying he or she was called to God probably comforts more than it offends, but a CHILD? I'd say you have a better than even chance that saying it was God's will is going to HURT a lot more than it HELPS.

In your BOOKS?

Yeah... wanna know the biggest thing that bugs me in a novel that didn't before I started writing? Deus ex machina: God out of the Machine... a miraculous save that could not possibly have been predicted by the first 400 pages of your book. NEVER do this. I will rip it apart in review *coughTwilightcough* (I refer here to the flight to Phoenix attack save thing *rolls eyes*  OUT. OF. NOWHERE.

I don't mind at ALL books about faith... losing and refinding... faith sustaining... but it better not have a bunch of horrid stuff then suddenly some miracle change of heart makes it all better again (unless it is an addiction story, but I don't really read those because the ending STILL bugs me, even if I can believe it in that case and only that case)

A book is SO MUCH better if the pieces are all there to pull together at the end... if the answer was there all the time, if only our hero could see it or use it or access it... If that FINDING requires God, you have my blessing... if God actually solves the problem? not so much.

Okay... so my apologies for the offense... this just really bugged the heck out of me, as you probably can tell...

Text content all generated by ME, Hart Johnson, not meant to offend, though I'm sure I will.
Oregon hearthbreak photo from

Twilight Cover from Twilight
This blog first appeared at Confessions of a Watery Tart  
if you see it elsewhere, I am okay with that, but please credit me if you share, and please come by the REAL place to say hi...


Tessa Conte said...

I agree. I don't think god/God/GOD would choose sides in college sports. Or any other sort of sports.

And Deus ex machina bugs me, too (have you seen/read war of the worlds or whatever it was called? I really did rip up that book).

Tessa Conte said...

Oh and regarding the shooting of that congress woman - have you heard? The Tea Party leader is a victim too (at least that's what he's saying).

Ted Cross said...

Sorry your team lost. I just roll my eyes at invocations such as the coach made, since I know that there are no gods (at least not of the man-made sort).

Cold As Heaven said...

It’s very funny when you see this kind of statements, as if gods have favorite teams. This must be a delicate theological question.

My relationship with God (all gods) is very simple. I rejected it all in 3rd grade.

But if for a moment, we assumed that God exists, I would find it very scary, based on his personality as described in The Bible. For instance killing all life on Earth (except two of each species) on a day he was grumpy; only a psychopathic maniac would do that. If God had interfered in the football game in Oregon, he would probably do more powerful things, like wiping out the entire state of Oregon. That would be more like his style.

And what he did to Abraham, that little joke when he required Abraham to slaughter his son Isak; it’s a little bit over the edge isn’t it?

Jesus, on the other hand, was a cool guy, tolerant, hanging out with sinners and tax collectors, that’s a nice attitude.

Sorry if someone got offended. I just love to mock the gods.

In Satan we trust >:D

Cold As Heaven

Not Hannah said...

Oh, honey. You should know that God is invoked by Southern people (or people living in the South) for everything from football to potato salad. Whenever ANYTHING happens that's good, it's because somebody prayed. (My mil insists that the reason Jeffrey is doing so well now is because she prayed about it.) Whenever something bad happens, it's God's will and/or God trying to give us something to make us stronger.

It's like living in ancient Roman times, when you had to invoke twenty-seven gods before you headed out the fricking door. (Exhausting.)

Dan said...

The thing that bugs most is when people talk about "God's Will". How do you know? How does any of us know what God's will is? I can understand praying for strength, and I can even understand mistaken the strength you find within for something from God (though that's kind of sad when you think about it). But even suggest you have any idea of God's plan (if he/she/it/they) even have one, is just self-delusion for comfort's sake.

There's also an arrogance and conceit when someone thanks God for their success. It implies God likes them better than all the poor saps who aren't successful or don't win BCS Championships. And that's just BS.

Hart Johnson said...

Tessa-the only version of that I know is the Tom Cruise movie which because my kids like it, I've seen a fair amount... don't love it, don't hate it... but the BOOK I haven't read. Interesting that it has that.--and on the Tea Party leader--seriously? *rolls eyes* I suppose if it leads him to sue Sarah Palin, I will be okay with that.

Ted-yes--the man made sort bugs me too. My own image of God is pretty non-traditions (and honestly non-being... it is more an energy/connection thing)-- but I suppose THAT is person made, too...

CaH-Seems to me that though Norway has an official (Christiam) church, your view is pretty standard among the Norwegians I know (well not the Satan part--Cruella is a Digression girl)--but a matter of fact general atheism... I had thought about the old testement and God sending all the plagues and then hardening hearts... That would make OREGON the chosen team, eh?

Heather-that is good to keep in perspective... that it is vernacular as much as anything else. I bet that is hard to live immersed in as a Pagan!

Hart Johnson said...

Dan-Welcome! You snuck in there while I was typing! Yeah-there is definitely arrogance to both claiming to KNOW and to thinking you are the favored. I am far more forgiving of people saying it when they LOSE because I think people just do that for strength and hope, but when they WIN--it's just poor sportsmanship.

Old Kitty said...

Oh dear!!! That coach guy needs to get NAKED!

Take care

Not Hannah said...

Hart...meh. As long as I can remember that it's as much a cultural, peer-pressure thing as it is true faith, I'm fine. After all, I believe the moon and stars affect our personalities--why shouldn't I let folks believe God gives a rat's ass about football? (I'm being all magnanimous. It drives me up a fricking wall most of the time.)

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

oh man, color me offended. Oregon the best state?! Clearly you've never been to Minnesota!
In all seriousness i hear oregon is very nice and it's one of those states i really want to visit one day.
Also, you get huge props for the Holy Grail picture. HUGE (tracts of land...)
And i completely agree with you regarding Deus ex Machina. Also, since it's one of my favorite phrases to say, you get even more HuGE props for writing about it.

Cold As Heaven said...

Yes, I grew up with a Christian school system, praying prayers and singing psalms every day in elementary school. It worked, in a sense, but probably not the way it was supposed to >:D

Cold As Heaven

Marjorie said...

Tami, I'm officially chiming in. I am not offended because so many people hold your view that I understand it. Being frequently riddled with doubts I try and seek some real understanding to a very abstract concept. To me God is the universe and the laws of them. The actual consciousness is also limited, but the laws of that universal presence are constant and unyielding. Karma for example: We've all seen it work even if we haven't realized that is what it was. I believe there is no injustice in the universe even if, in the now, things don't seem so fair.

Also, we can't blame anyone but the shooter for what happened here. It has come out that it was a personal vendetta that the shooter had against Gabrielle Giffords. He targeted her because she gave him a different answer than he wanted at the last "Congress on your Corner" event that she held. Not that I'm some huge fan of Palin. I just think people want to blame someone and the right is being attacked for something that is not their fault. Everyone has a right to express their opinions. The shooter had no party affiliation. He was a registered independent and did not vote at all in the last election. Plus, he's obviously insane. He was kicked out of college for disrupting class with things like laughing for no reason and off the wall rantings. Oh, it was 6 others that were killed. So sad.

I'm angry about this probably more than anyone I know online. It happened in my city. A city I absolutely love. I hate that we have been put on the map because of this. /rant

Ciara said...

Yeah,things like this bother me. I agree with you about keeping God out of winning. I think it's just rude and ignorant. :)
That being said, God is with us all, he's just not going to choose sides.

Hart Johnson said...

Jenny-BOY HOWDY on that one!!!

Heather *snicker*

Sarah-I've driven THROUGH Minnesota... honestly, all the states I've been, I like a lot about, even North Dakota, and that's saying something...

Marjorie-your religious views and mine aren't incompatible, and thanks for more info on the shooter. I really do believe he should have been institutionalized.

Ciara- yeah, on the sports thing, that is my big issue... saying he chose one side means rejection fo the other.

LTM said...

Actually, it's the SEC that God loves more. LOL! *snort*

You know I had to eat it when Auburn beat LSU a few mos ago... At least they're national champs now, so that takes some of the sting away. And the Cottonbowl was te-riffic. :D

If God had any part in this, it was in creating healthy athletes and giving them the ability to play very well. The end. (Or "The And," as my Forrest Gump-speaking children say it. ;o)

And man, I'm with you on that other stuff. That's where we need God, not in some silly football game. He is very patient w/us~ :o) <3

Raquel Byrnes said...

Is this the game where the crowd cheered so loud they registered on the Richter scale? My daughter was telling me about this.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

Helena said...

The only story I've seen that works because God comes in at the climax and solves the situation is in my fave rave movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. But one reason this works is because a) it's not a novel but a movie with great special effects; and b) from some of the earliest scenes there are warnings about the wrath of God and how the city of Tannis disappeared because the citizens had taken possession of the ark and so on. This way we're not shocked when the climax turns supernatural scary.

The other Indiana Jones movies also have spiritual or supernatural elements, but they work because the stories are told in fun MOVIES, not novels, and these movies are based on deliberately unrealistic adventure serials.

So I guess the rule is: Unless you're writing about someone like Indiana Jones, a literal deus ex machina at the climax ain't gonna work.

Jan Morrison said...

I belong to a listserve about the Mass Observors in Britain (I'll explain later - it is kind of like my accordion fantasy but maybe not) Two days ago I got a brilliant letter that was sent out about a woman named Nella Last who kept a diary for the MAASOB org. during the WWII. She was positively brilliant and I'm glad we have her words written down because there is no way in hell it would've happened without this weird group. Here's a quote from the letter "There’s wit as well. ‘My next-door neighbour prays to God to strike Hitler
dead. Cannot help thinking that if God wanted to do that he would not have
waited for Mrs. Helm to ask him’." I think this sums up how I feel about the debate. I like the Jews - they get out and yell at God. If you're going to believe in him at least take issue with some of the work done around here. love, a smug non-theist. WELL! why can't we be smug???

Rusty Webb said...

This reminds me of two things I experienced recently.

1) I was listening to an interview with a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee football team talking about his preparation for the upcoming NFL draft. He was asked questions about overcoming his injury - God wanted him injured. About the heartbreaking loss in the bowl game - God wanted them to lose. About training for the combines - God wants him to lift weights in Nashville... it was bizarre.

At some point my son turned to me and said, "Is there something wrong with him?" I just laughed and said I think he was nervous and kept repeating himself. No matter what the question was, his answer was going to be something about God.

2) My favorite bible story - God is so angry at Israel that he can't stand it. He has no reason to punish them though because they've done nothing wrong. So he tells King David to take a census. David does. God then punished them with a most bloody and murderous rampage... because David took a census.

I must have read that story a hundred times. Why would anyone write something like that down? Yikes. The same story is told again later in the bible, but a smart guy scratched out God in the story and replaced him with Satan... Funny though, in the second version of the story, the only thing Satan does is ask David to take the census. It's still God doing all the slaughtering.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Football is a grey area and I doubt God cares either way. (Of course, He's God, so He already knows who's going to win.)
And as a Christian, I'll have you know, you did not offend me!

VR Barkowski said...

Damn straight, Tarty. The planet is going to hell in a hand-basket and this jerk has the audacity to suggest God is not only interest in the BCS playoffs, he picks favorites? Between you and me, I think the Man in Charge has bigger fish to fry.

The arrogance of the Auburn coach is galling. Respecting and thanking God for the team's talent and, yes, luck required to score that [heartbreaking] final touchdown is one thing. But to presume to be God's chosen team is beyond hubris. Someone needs to remind the guy that, "Pride goeth before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall."

VR Barkowski said...

When do the Naked Thursday festivities begin? I need to lighten up.

Missed Periods said...

-A congresswoman was SHOT and—what 9? people KILLED because a mentally ill nut was channeling Sarah Palin (whether he was aware of it or not)
-A friend lost an extended family member to SIDS
-Australia is flooding and our friend Al has two daughters STRANDED there (though thankfully safe)
-There are clashes killing people in Sudan.

I think God may be watching football.

Lisa said...

We watched that game and when the player said that nonsense, I yelled at him. I doubt it helped, but maybe. As far as I'm concerned, it's as plausible as, his belief that god used him as a tool.

Tool indeed.

Lisa Potts said...

Sadly, I missed the post game interviews, but thanks for catching me up.

It's almost a pre-requisite that everyone thanks God first when they win something, so should we be surprised that they invoke His wrath when they lose?

I think it's just a case of passing the blame. Nobody wants to take responsibility for anything.

sue said...

Apart from the worrying comment about rooting for the Adelaide Crows (Are you sure you mean that? Maybe those South Australian's have adopted your strange expression?) I was standing here almost cheering! It's encouraging to hear so many sensible people (I'm possibly showing some bias) writing such thoughtful, entertaining comments.

Julie Hedlund said...

Okay as a lifelong (and I do mean lifelong) college football fan - GO BLUE! - this post cracked me up to no end.

Seriously people, get a grip on yourself if you think God chooses sides in sporting matches of any kind. Like you, I hope he or she finds much better things to do...