Yesterday I was walking down the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica with a friend. Pacing among the street performers was a man waving a bible and yelling over the bustle of people and banging of bucket drums. He threw up his arms and shouted, “…and when you die, God opens up the book that lists all your sins.” He opened the Bible and flipped through it as if he was God, enumerating every bad thing that someone had done.
I turned to my friend and said, “What a sad notion! You live your whole life and are brought before God only to recount the bad things that you have done in your life. Human parents have more compassion for their children when they return to them. They don’t recount every bad thing that the child has done.” I’m not a parent, but I have done some awful things in my life and have caused my parents their fair share of frustration and grief, but when my parents look at me, I see that they love me – not that they judge me.
I woke up with this on my mind for higher philosophical reasons, and because of my book. The idea of God just waiting to condemn people made me think about the story of Percy and the Olympians. Percy helped overthrow the gods because they had lost touch with humanity. In some ways, I think that is happening today in the world. So many people are frustrated by the mantle of religion that they have shrugged it off for something more fulfilling, and, dare I say, forgiving.
Personally, I do not feel compelled to judge whether these people or major religion is better for the soul. However, from a writing standpoint, it is an interesting topic to explore. In These 3 Things, I include the religious/historic figure of Judas. I leave it to readers to determine if he should experience redemption. But if I’m honest, my writing explores the idea that maybe there is a spiritual world that is more understanding than we have been taught in Bible Study. Maybe life is not so much about what we have done, but what we have learned about being the best person we can be and sharing that knowledge and understanding with others.
My experience on the promenade, albeit disturbing, has motivated me to write today with the theme of judgement in mind.
Peace, Love, Forgiveness, & Writing