How are you doing?

I recently saw a post that essentially said that if you are well adjusted individual and you are doing just fine given all the insanity that is going on in this nation currently, that you should really have your head checked.

How are you doing? If you ask me that question, lately, I have a pause. I’m deciding if I share how I’m really doing (if I think you want to really know), or if I just do the polite thing and say “I’m fine.”

I’m not fine though. And I don’t think most people are fine. Not the folks I have been talking with anyway. In fact I’ve yet to meet anyone who is actually fine. We’re all broken. And sometime worse. But are we willing to admit that and be vulnerable with people and say that we broken, or worse? Are we willing to make that kind of investment in a relationship? It might take some time and that might mess with our schedules.

I’m not fine. I’ve been dealing with long haul COVID symptoms of fatigue that comes and goes, and fuzzy brain that hits at inconvenient times, and headaches that often turn to migraines that pretty much incapacitate me from doing anything until they pass. There’s no rhyme or reason for when these things hit me. Some days are better than others. It seems that I take a couple of steps forward and then a few steps back.

I’m also not fine because of existential questioning of what the hell is going on in the world. Seriously. I’m a person who is very visionary and sees how things connect with one another. I am definitely not a compartmentalized thinker – separating things from everything else as if there is no impact on one another. That makes no sense to me. And so when I see what happens in our nation, I see the connections that are happening. I see the hypocrisy. I see the projection of accusations that are actually what the accusers are guilty of. I see the imposition of control and power over people. I see it all. And what I see is something like a person in the water who is drowning. They are flailing around because their reaction is to try harder, but that is only going to bring about their own demise and cause harm to anyone who tries to help. That’s the metaphor for our nation right now. That’s why I’m not fine and why so many other people aren’t fine either.

These are folks who are men, women, non-binary, children, seniors, and so many others. These are LGBTQ+ folks. These are women who have the ability to be pregnant, or are currently. These are people of color. These are folks who are watching what is going on and are left speechless. These are folks who have seen this all before and know where it leads. And it doesn’t work out well for them. It never really works out well for anyone really.

Genesis 3 is the story of the Fall. And the key phrase in this story is when the serpent says to Eve: “for God knows that when you eat of [the fruit from the tree] your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good from evil.” (NRSV, Genesis 3:5).

Everett Fox, in his version titled “The Five Books of Moses,” translates the passage this way: “Rather, God knows that on the day that you eat from [the fruit from the tree], your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, knowing good and evil.” (Fox, Genesis 3:5)

These translations are so very close to each other, but there is a key distinction – God vs. gods. Fox takes a more literal translation of the Hebrew attempting to keep the poetry, meaning, and rhyme of the passages.

“You will be like gods.”

Isn’t that what this is really all about? Isn’t that what it’s always been about? We want to be like gods, not God. Here’s the difference in what that means.

To be like God is to be about love, to show mercy, to offer grace, to self-empty oneself in service of others because of love. To be like God is to be Christ-like. To seek out what is best for the other. To live the way of peace. To seek shalom because it is the Kingdom of God. To be in community.

To be like gods is about judgement and determining who is right and who is wrong. The serpent knew this – “knowing good and evil.” To be like gods is to believe that the ultimate thing is to have divine-like power over creation and humanity – to be able to control others and one’s surroundings. To be like gods means that you can shape reality to fit your own preferences and that no one can impose anything on you or make you suffer the consequences of your actions.

That’s the difference between being like God and being like gods. We have far too few people who want to be like God and far too many that seek out and desire to become like gods.

So, how are you doing? Are you seeking to be like God or like gods? Are you seeking to bring order our of chaos, or to impose control over others? Are you seeking shalom and the Kingdom of God, or to create a fiefdom in which the universe revolves around what you want? Are you seeking mercy, justice, and humanity, or are you seeking to maintain unjust systems that you think you benefit from at the expense of others? Are you seeking to live in the way of peace, or are you living in the way of the ends justify the means?

How are you doing? I’m not fine, but I know that I’m not alone. I know that there are others who are struggling too – struggling to make sense of what is going on, struggling with watching people seek ways to be like gods. But I also know that the search and desire to be like gods doesn’t end well. How could it. We aren’t gods. When we act like gods, we suffer the consequences of the misguided notion that we are like gods. It’s just too much and we fall from the weight of it all. The question is how many others will be taken down with us.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. We don’t have to be well. We don’t have to know or have the answers.

How are you doing?

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