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"The evil of our time is the loss of consciousness of evil."
"If we don't make judgements, we are morally bankrupt. There are matters of right and wrong in this world, good and bad. It's wrong to hide. It's bad to be in the closet. We don't have to blame or condemn each other, we can be loving and supportive. But we still need to push each other to stop the hiding and secrecy which is so destructive to ourselves and to the world.
Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
Midlife brings with it an invitation to accept ourselves as we truly are, embracing the darker sides of ourselves as well as the good, the dark sides of our cultures as well as the good. We have an instinctive fear of facing the dark mysteries. The shadow or unknown parts of us belong to an inner world that is usually suppressed in the first half of life... But by confronting our mysterious and shadowy center, we tap into life's revitalizing energies and gain access to our innermost self, which contains the key to a new understanding of our life's meaning.
Paula Payne Hardin, quoted in:
"The Wisdom of Women"
Carol Spenard LaRusso, editor
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Musings, Ramblings and Minor Insights
March 27, 2009

"IT'S ALL GOOD".....Oh, Really??????
I walked into my church Wednesday evening and there sitting on the podium was a little plaque with the words: "It's All Good." This is a common theme in my church. As a matter of fact, the minister (let's call her Rev. S) has been using this theme throughout her Wednesday evening talks for a number of weeks now. I'm not altogether certain how it ties in, as the series was supposed to be about creativity and imagination. (Maybe I should have listened harder!) My take on it was that as God finished each of his creations, he declared it to be 'very good'. And the lesson for us to learn from this is that, as we are created 'in the image and likeness of God', we too can create all good stuff in our lives. I'm not at all sure I can go along with this. Maybe it's to be taken more as symbolic and not literal. But it didn't sound that way.

I was not exactly in an 'It's All Good' frame of mind to start with. Then, after singing about 14 choruses of "I Am So Blessed", my mood had deteriorated even further. You know how when your life sucks, and some well-meaning soul tries to cheer you up or talk you out of it...... well, it seldom works. In fact, when Rev. S started her talk she began by saying that even she reacts badly to such efforts. She said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "If you try to come up to me when I'm in the middle of a challenge and tell me how wonderful life is, I'm gonna want to slap you!" RIGHT ON SISTER!! That is exactly how I feel, and I don't mind saying so!

So, what earthly good, really, is this concept of: "It's All Good??" And what does Rev. S really mean by it? I've put a lot of thought into this, and it troubles me greatly. Surely she can't honestly look around at the world and think that all she sees is 'good'. Or even that it's all 'the will of God' and that 'all things work together for good.' To me, that's just naive. We can put it in more of a metaphysical context, I suppose, and apply some 'greater good' type meaning to it. But sometimes I get all tangled up in all that symbolism. Sometimes, I just want good old reality--the truth and nothing but the truth. Oh sure, there's a lot of good stuff that happens in the world. And I do try to keep in mind that in many ways I am more fortunate than lots of people. After all, I have a roof over my head, enough money to pay the mortgage and buy food. And there's not a day goes by that I don't experience the headiness of freedom that being unemployed affords me.' So, yes, I get it: my life could be (and has been) a whole lot worse. By comparison, now, it IS all good.

But sometimes I want to say,'What about the genuinely bad stuff? What about the people who are suffering, struggling to get by, being imprisoned, tortured, killed.... or just plain starving to death?' How can you say, in light of all this, that 'It's All Good?'

Back when I was listening to more traditional Christian teachings, and they would say that all this is somehow 'God's will', or that God had some higher plan that we couldn't possibly understand, I was never convinced. The only thing this convinced me of was that God must be a really sadistic S.O.B. So, I couldn't really believe in that God, or his great plan. Now I find, I have just as much trouble with the 'all good' God because, well, life still goes on pretty much the same way it always has. How is this God any better? Unless..... and this is the 'AHA!' for me..... Maybe there isn't really any 'all-powerful, all-benevolent' God as such. If we feel we must believe in a God, it seems to me that we have to take into account what we know of the universe, and concede that God may be the SOURCE of the universe, but God doesn't really have carte blanche to do anything he/she/it might want.

Yes, folks, I am suggesting that the concept of an omnipotent God, is really not workable. Okay, I agree, the 'SOURCE OF THE UNIVERSE' sounds pretty impressive. And the universe itself is pretty impressive too, when you get right down to it. But every school child knows that there are certain principles, certain laws of nature, that govern how the universe works. To suggest that a Creative Source would create a universe that works in such a way, but then would intervene and dabble and change the rules at will.... well that's setting the universe up for a whole bunch of random chaos and unpredictability. So what I see is a universe that is pretty much set up in a certain way and then self-perpetuating and self-determining, with 'God' being the source of the raw material (energy??). In turn, we humans as part of this universe are pretty much learning whatever we can on a trial-and-error basis. Pretty scary, that! But what else can we conclude, given the history and nature of the human race?

There are days when the world annoys me. And I ask, 'Why the hell couldn't it be different? Why couldn't God have come up with a little bit better plan?' Or more likely, there probably really wasn't a plan. It was just God fooling around, looking for a little entertainment. Kind of like when little boys pull the wings off flies, just to see what happens to them.

Do I shock you? Offend you? Am I headed straight for hell? Perhaps. Who's to say? As I stated earlier, this isn't the best of times for me. I'll get better soon. I always do. Then I'll be right back in there with everyone else singing and clapping and saying :"IT'S ALL GOOD!" After all, what else can I do? Life isn't a carnival ride, that we can just get off and go home when we get sick of it!

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