the people along the sand all turn and look one way;
they turn their back on the land, they look at the sea all day.

as long as it takes to pass a ship keeps raising its hull;
the wetter ground like glass reflects a standing gull.

the land may vary more, but wherever the truth may be -
the water comes ashore and people look at the sea.

they cannot look out far, they cannot see in deep -
but when was that ever a bar for any watch they keep.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Distance Haze - Haunted By God

After sporadically keeping another blog for a couple of years, I am creating a new one here at "Distance Haze." My other blog, "Brother Crow", chronicled my journey away from religion and gave me a place to dump my anger, confusion and occasional rants and raves against society, politics and religion.

That whole time, I realized that something was still aching in my soul. Try as I might, I could not escape a daily internal reality - I was an atheist who still believes in God. I do not like Him, I do not believe in Him (I know, contradiction - first time its ever occurred in the human race, huh?), I will not worship Him, and I certainly will not forgive Him...but I am haunted by Him, and I must process this central core dysfunction of my life so that I can continue to move forward in the living of what I have left.

My dear friend, who I will refer to often as Mylon (because that's his name...really) tells me that I am a deist. I studied deism in seminary, and I think he is probably right...I would say I am a "neo-deist." Kind of like "nudist" - which is apropos, because nakedness is a state of being which implies full vulnerability, intimacy and desire. It is Garden of Eden stuff...the way we were before we became enemies of God. If that ever happened.

I don't know...and that is why I am writing "Distance Haze." I hope to invite others to write on it, too. I want this blog to become something like a forum, a movement. Why? Because I believe (a belief that is stronger than my belief in God) that there are millions of people out there - former Christians (like myself), anxious atheists (like myself), awkward agnostics (like myself) and they want or need a community - even a virtual community - to admit that God haunts them. To admit and discuss why they can't shake the God-thought, and why their souls hunger for the Mystery. They KNOW they will not go to church, or join an organized religion, or quit drinking or smoking or listening to Devil Music. They aren't Republican (which, by the way, appears to have become the number one requirement for becoming a Christian).

They are haunted - by God on the one hand, and by Distance Haze on the other. What is "Distance Haze." Well, it is a term I heard alot when I lived up in Ohio and would visit little towns on the shores of Lake Erie. Thermal inversion layers would form over the shorelines, making the sky very soupy, even on clear days. So, you could rarely see more than a couple of miles clearly, and then distance haze would kick in, and the further you looked, the soupier things became. You have noticed this at the beach, I'm sure. Clear sky, nice breeze from the ocean, but down there, as the beach curves outward in the distance, things become foggy, fuzzy, unfocused, uncertain. Hazy.

Same with this God thing - He is Distant. Regardless of what Christians, or any other religious devotees say...He is God. A personal relationship with Him is a delusion - isn't it? How can we know anything about GOD? Except what religion tells us, or the training of our culture, or ... our hearts? And don't our hearts tell us lots of things, and many of those things are absolutely not true??

Distance Haze. I cannot see God clearly. I cannot know Him well. Or at all. But, I cannot escape the feeling that he is out there, he is something. I can't squirm my way around it...I have to deal with it head on.

So, Distance Haze is where I will do that. I hope you will join me. Maybe, squinting together, we can make out something that we both will say - "what the hell is that???"
seven miles away
the horizon frames the sky;
that assumes there are no hills or trees,
or clouds to mar the clarity of sight –
a bad assumption on this earth,
filled as it is with weather, dirt and life.
seven miles away…
a nothingspace, a flicker and a breath,
the measure of the gap between a birth and death.
that is on the best of days – come humidity or cloud,
when vapor draws around us like a shroud,
and that horizon rushes in,
like dust thrown up before a wind,
it slaps us even as we gaze,
the squinting victims of distance haze.
then the thickening of night,
when distance haze reduces sight
to just beyond the nose, at best…
yet that is when we fools think we are blest -
we cannot see, and so forget.