The god of vacant parking spots

I have a family member who when driving with her she tends to pray in advance of me parking my car for a parking spot.

Now I consider myself a man of prayer. I enjoy praying because essentially it is talking and communicating with God, and there are times there’s no one I rather talk to than God, and not in bad times where life is unmanageable and I’ve gone on too long in leaning on my own strength but times when life is good, times when perfect shalom appears to be the horizon.

My take on praying to a god for a parking spot is…well…making God out to be something he’s not, in the same stride the god presented when looking for a parking spot, is the god that gets prayed to when we leave the house late and hope to get on work on time, the god who gets called upon when we’re watching to see if our lottery ticket is the one that wins big, the god who’s thanked for unexpected pizza days at school, the god we pray to that we don’t get caught after pulling an illegal u-turn, the god who let our team win the Super Bowl.

The thing is, that god is not God. That god is small, puny, domesticated and contained. He is docile, he’s our lucky charm, he’s our Mr. Potato Head…but what kind of god is that? What good is a god like that?

C.S. Lewis put it well in his book The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. One of the children upon hearing that Aslan is a lion asks The Beavers if Aslan is safe; “Of course he isn’t safe! But he’s good.” Aslan is the character representing God, in which He cannot be thoroughly comprehended, he cannot truly be defined by mere human words, there is no box to contain him and he is not safe…but he is good. So to attribute available parking spots to him, the lack of getting a ticket, the winning of the Super Bowl, and so on is detrimental to us and not to God.

Instead of putting God in a box, why not let God be God? Because a God who isn’t contained by our standards and presuppositions is more of who he is anyway. He isn’t safe, but he is good.



What I’m poor in/What it means to be a man

Not too long ago my father asked me do I consider myself poor, my response to him was in what form. Because as I think about it, being poor, lacking something, doesn’t necessarily mean a lack of money or a roof over your head, there are other types of being poor than that type.

So I explored this question introspectively, if I am poor what am I poor in? It came to me all too suddenly, I am poor in the sense of what it means to be a man. My response to my father is as follows…

If I am honest with myself and where I’m at, the only thing I consider myself poor in, is a sense of what a man’s supposed to be; while I err on the side of being an egalitarian, life in general and certainly the church, the attitude fluxes. Either the guy has to be meek and mild, a pushover, a Yes-dear-I’m-sorry type, or a red meat eating, whiskey swilling, testosterone junkie who works crazy long hours to support his family which there’s no irony to me with those who consider money equals time invested. So I hang on to hope, have faith, and in the words of Bono; transcend the bullshit.

This is what I told my father, this is what I stand by, because I don’t have a freaking clue as to what a man’s supposed to be. I do hope that someday this Johnny finds his June and we settle down, have a family, raise some kids, celebrate holidays, go on vacations…but I am scared shitless at times; shitless over the nature of this world sometimes, the way humanity sucks the big one in regards to how I treat my fellow man and how my fellow man treats me. I did recently question if I want to help raise a family in this world, and as I watched the sunset and pondered/questioned/prayed this into the deepest crevasses of my heart and soul, I know…I feel it within me, that YES I do.

So that’s me, that’s my poverty, but I am doing what I can to get to where I need to be in life. To continue hanging on to hope, to continue having faith, and to continue transcending the bullshit.