Let’s let Robin Williams rest now

Yesterday at the gym I was watching television, since you can’t be on any elliptical machine at my gym that doesn’t face a TV screen because God forbid that we have one freakin’ moment in our lives in which we’re not being advertised to.

dana-carvey-grumpy

Yes, I’m now the Grumpy Old Man.

So I’m doing the Human Hamster workout, running like crazy and going nowhere, when CNN starts flashing a banner: NEW DETAILS ON ROBIN WILLIAMS SUICIDE.

Or, as I read it: AND NOW FOR TWELVE COMMERCIALS.

Which of course immediately started.

Who would change the channel with such tempting fare ahead?

Back home I had waiting some emails from people wanting me to know that a Matt Walsh blog post about Williams’ suicide had gone viral.

I would have visited Walsh’s blog to read the post, but, alas, my hazmat suit is at the dry cleaners. So no go.

Late last night I got a couple of emails from people asking if Robin Williams is now in hell for having committed the sin of suicide. Apparently fundy-type Christians everywhere have written that he is.

Robin Williams is not in hell for committing suicide. There is no such place as hell—and the only people who want others to believe there is a hell make money off the fear that belief engenders.

And even if there were such a place as hell (which, again, there isn’t), no God worth a shredded church bulletin would send a person there for feeling so hurt and unloved that he or she was driven to the ultimate expression of despair. (For more on this, see Atheist and Christian Argue About Hell (in a Starbucks). Atheist Wins.)

Today the coverage of Mr. Williams’ sad demise will be half what it was yesterday. Tomorrow it’ll be half that. By Monday we’ll all be mesmerized by some new tragedy corporate media will be using to sell us crap we don’t need.

God bless you, Robin Williams. Thanks for making us laugh. May your soul know in heaven the peace it too rarely knew on earth.

And may we all today know a little more of that peace than we deserve.

Print Friendly

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://thethreews.wordpress.com/ Ken Leonard

    I have also not read the Matt Walsh post. I know what he’s saying. I’ve seen the headline, and heard the arguments. There’s not going to be anything clever or wise, there.

    I agree. Please, can we be done with sensationalism?

  • http://shiphrah99.etsy.com Shiphrah99

    Robin Williams committed suicide to ESCAPE from hell.

  • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

    I’ve read some of the vitrol spewed by people who somehow didn’t get the memo when compassion was being handed out. I find it heartbreaking and utterly self-serving.
    Mr. Williams was one of those people who I would have loved sitting at my tiny dinette table sharing a meal, coffee and conversation. I do believe he is now at peace, content, and free of the illness that plagued him.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Oof, Matt Walsh. No thanks.

    I’m surprised there was coverage of Robin Williams. When I’m on the elliptical, all 500 TVs at the gym seem to be on all the sport channels. They’re far enough away to be blurry (I wouldn’t watch them anyway), and instead I just play Words With Friends on my phone.

    • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

      My gym has sports and fox news.
      Why don’t gyms run movie musicals? Nothing would get me to stair-stepping like “Good Morning” from Singing in the Rain.

      • Guy Norred

        Not on the screens, but that has been known to play at my gym ( on my headphones).

        • http://www.fordswords.net/ Ford1968

          Yes, we are walking stereotypes.
          #kindredspirit

      • Jeff Preuss

        Ummm…I don’t like musicals?

        Wait, wait, wait. Musicals are like most sports to me. I like DOING them, but hate WATCHING them.

  • Stephanie Marie

    As a Christian, a therapist and a mental health advocate and educator, I thank you for this. Unfortunately, I made the unwise decision to read Matt Walsh’s post and subsequently had to detach from technology and media before I started the internet on fire. This week has been very difficulty for many of us, but it has reinforced the need for more education so that people understand mental illness and substance abuse are diseases, not character flaws or moral shortcomings. Suicide is not a sin – it is an act of desperation when someone is in overwhelming anguish and their disease robs them of the ability to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s sad and tragic, and the more ignorant people get attention for spreading myths and stigmas, the more work I have to do. So be it.

  • Courtney Linell

    A FB friend so kindly posted the Matt Walsh post, which I felt compelled to read, thusly making me nauseated and very, very sad. A horribly askew personal opinion piece claiming that sufferers of depression do not have a strong spiritual stamina is only one of the many ridiculous assumptions and accusations that he made.

    Mr. Walsh’s article, as well as the media coverage surrounding Robin Williams’ death remind me more and more of the overwhelming need that the media has created in us to become critics and opinion-whores alike – in matters that don’t deserve critique or personal opinion. I tire of comment sections below mundane articles that turn into worded assaults over something as trite as the author’s choice of verb in the second paragraph. The idiocy that appears in those occasions erupts even more so in wake of events with greater “significance,” such as the death of Robin Williams.

    Such was a very long-winded way of saying that I agree with John’s perspective. RIP, Robin – may you and your family find peace.

  • HappyCat

    If creationism and anti-vaccination views are backward and anti-science, so is the belief that (mental) illness is a moral failure anti-science. It is also unhelpful, judgmental, and makes the people who spout such nonsense look like uncompassionate jackasses. When someone is ill, they are vulnerable, and not every treatment works every single time, but that is the nature of medicine. The last few days have been rough. Dealing with chronic (mental) illness is exhausting in and of itself. So enough already. Either respect science and medicine or don’t. Either accomplish the jerk and lift of empathy and education or slink back to the cave.

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      “Either accomplish the jerk and lift of empathy and education or slink back to the cave.”
      What a wonderful use of phrase, so beautifully profound.

      • HappyCat

        Thank you!:)

  • Matt

    I knew there was a reason why I run outside! No music, either. It’s the perfect way to stop my mind from chewing on things too much. And thank God I heard nothing of Matt Walsh’s post. Who really has anything relevant or useful to say about Robin Williams’ character apart from his family and those who actually knew him?

    • Jeff Preuss

      I can’t run outside. My husband tried to take me…once. We got three blocks before I whined and said I was bored and couldn’t do it any more.

      Plus, I was afraid of getting hit by a car.

      When I do the elliptical, I can listen to music AND do games on my phone while moving (albeit clumsily), and it’s better for my knees anyway. (I was that kid in highschool who couldn’t focus on homework unless the TV and the radio were going while I did it.)

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        I’m only capable of running my mouth, the state of my spine keeps me to a walk… I’d love a treadmill, that way I could read and walk at the same time.

        • Sharla Hulsey

          That is a plus of a treadmill. But walking and walking and never actually getting anywhere does not appeal to me, even if I do have reading material and good tunes while I’m doing it. Same with just going out for a walk. I can walk to work, or walk to the grocery store, or walk to someone’s house; but just being out walking for the sake of walking drives me to distraction.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            One of the things I miss about living in the NC mountains was the ease of access to trails. Plus I lived in a neighborhood, where walking to the post office, or to the kid’s school, or even to the church we attended at the time, was more practical than driving. Plus the climate was always mild or on the cool side.

            I don’t have that luxury here. Summer is just hot enough to wilt me in short order when it comes to the outdoor stuff, plus I have spine issues that have cut out my love for hiking mountain trails. I settle for a turn around the grounds where I work. One loop is 1/2 mile. I do it in silence, even if the sound of traffic and heavy equipment are all the “nature sounds” I hear. Even better is weeding my flower beds, or tackling that still existing ratty juniper hedge that just won’t completely die.

      • Matt

        *chuckle* It’s not for everyone. It’s a bit like meditation. I focus on enjoying how my body feels while running and the beautiful scenery, not really having to think about anything in particular. I am probably the last young person around (maybe even person, period) who only uses their phone to make calls and occasionally text.

        • Jeff Preuss

          I used to consider myself a fairly devout luddite when it came to smart phones, then I got Candy Crush. Now I’m on my phone constantly.

          Of course, I do also use it for work a LOT (sharing displays, etc. which are all very visual) and my best friend who lives elsewhere is only marginally reachable by text, and almost never by other means, so it’s how I keep in contact with him.

          For my “zen” outdoorsy stuff, I climb mountains where my phone doesn’t get much reception. :)

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Candy crush…evil addiction.On level 210. My zen comes from pulling weeds out of my flower beds, or transforming a patch of ugly half dead shrubs into a paradise of perinnials.

          • Jeff Preuss

            I am…..a bit OCD when it comes to puzzles. I’m stuck at level 650 …mostly because they haven’t MADE more yet.

          • Alliecat04

            The company which makes candy crush is pretty repellant. They have attempted to trademark the word “saga”.

            Free rice is my time wasting addiction. I’m not sure how much food they actually give away or how legitimate they are as a charity, but playing it is still fun.

          • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

            I couldn’t get past level 125, so I eventually quit.

  • Alliecat04

    His death made me so sad. It’s like the whole world just got a little less funny. Ironically I was reading some fluff piece in a UK newspaper about his latest movie when I saw the announcement – UNDER the fluff piece – as if the fluff piece were more important than his death. Spent the next ten minutes googling his name and “hoax” before admitting the truth. Poor man, the interviewer on the fluff piece done right before his death seemed totally bewildered by how poorly he was doing – incomprehensible, slurring words – this is not one that snuck up on people, he was clearly having major problems.

    John, I’ve been wondering for a while if you could write something about drug addiction. It just seems to me that “rehab”, lately, is shorthand for “that place you go and then we say you’re better and then you die.” Shouldn’t rehab not result in people being dead within weeks? Is this working as it should? My nephew went to rehab, everyone cheered, got out, OD’d. Same with Cory monteith. Now it’s Robin killing himself.

    Since I’m a control-freaky sort of person who could have been voted “least likely to ever have an issue with mind-altering substances” in high school, I have no perspective on this. I try to empathize but I don’t understand. I just know that we, everyone, are failing these people, beautiful, valuable people, failing them dismally. It seems like it ought to be possible to do better for them than we are.

    • Mario Strada

      Speaking from direct, if 30 years old, experience, when drug addicts go to rehab, come out and OD is often simply because they do not realize that in order to get high at their pre-detox level they need a lot less of the stuff.

      My direct experience, by the way, is that of a few close drug friends that did exactly that. Only 2 died, the other survived.
      When it was my time to come out of detox, I was smart enough to take less than 1/4 of my pre-detox dose and I still got hammered.

      And by “smart” I really mean “experienced”. By then my friends had all already soccumbed so I figured I would take it slow, not that I was inherently smarter than my peers or anyone that ODs like that. Many simply do not realize it works that way, others are simply distracted by the excitement of finally scoring some dope after such a long time, and so on. If I were really smart, I would not have done it at all, as I eventually did.

      In the case of people like Robin Williams, that is to say Depressed people, rehab or not really has little to do with anything.
      Maybe he went to rehab thinking that life was going to be great, found himself with life being still shitty and decided that was it.

      Regardless, it’s the depression that kills you, not the rehab.

      I was really sad to see Robin Williams go like that. My wife and I watched an interview with him a few months ago and both, almost in unison, said to each other first: “boy, he is really manic”. And then: “boy, he must be Bi-Polar” (which is more or less the same thing, anyway).

      We were saddened by his passing, but neither of us was surprised. My wife is bipolar and between that and her heart condition she has been to the ER in the past 6 months a good 30 to 40 times.
      It’s a terrible illness and it is even more terrible to read about all this insensitive people blaming Robin Williams and calling him a “coward”.

      Trust me: if you get on a chair with a rope in your hand and actually go through with the deed, you are not a coward. You just want the pain to stop more than a lot of us that have the same pain but are too scared to get on that chair.

      No one would call a cancer victim a coward. Yet, depression kills just as swiftly. And some will even say you are going to hell, as if that was a deterrent. If hell existed, it’s be my favorite place to hang out. They would have the best parties and the most interesting people.

      If you have a friend or a relative suffering from depression, either shut up or tell yourself they have cancer instead. Do not discount their illness or their pain.

      My wife, the one that’s bipolar, used the be like you: “snap out of it” she used to say. “Just get over it”.
      She no longer says that.

      • Alliecat04

        Yo, don’t put words in my mouth. How dare you? I never said anything of the sort, anywhere,mor anything that could be understood as that.

        • Wonder

          I didn’t understand Mario’s comments (except for the rehab bit) to be addressing you, (Alliecat) directly. I think that was a collective ‘you’ especially at the end there.

          • Mario Strada

            Thank you for coming to my aid. You are precisely right. I didn’t mean to make any personal attacks or even remarks. I just tried to expand on the concept and give some personal experience. I am sorry if I didn’t do such a good job at making that “you” more generic.
            In Italian it’s a lot more difficult to make that mistake, even though there was a time when “voi” (plural you) was used a lot more as an honorific. The problems we have is that currently “lei” means “Honorific you” and also “Her”. As in English, we have to use context to tell them apart.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        Reading about people who relapse immediately after leaving rehab is something I find quite disturbing. There must be a breakdown somewhere, a failure in their care, the understanding about addiction, or mental illness, either on the part of the health care system or the patient, or both. We must do better for these people, as we are losing too many to these diseases.

  • anakinmcfly
    • Bones

      Are Westboro still going since that old demon died.

      • Guy Norred

        They kicked him out before he died. Apparently he was getting a little soft.

  • anakinmcfly

    I’ve also seen a sad amount of comments accusing people who commit suicide as being selfish. But when in that state of depression – it’s *not* killing yourself that seems like the selfish option because you’re continuing to be a burden to everyone. And accusations of selfishness just feed further into that depression and further convinces them that they’re a horrible person who needs to die.

    • Bones

      Fair dinkum, anyone criticising suicides for selfishness doesn’t have a clue. It’s the last resort and only way out that they can see.

      Most people who pontificate about suicide like they know it all, know jack shit. Same goes with mental illness. It’s like criticising a cancer victim for having cancer.

    • Michelle Par

      Those of us who have family members who have committed suicide often feel that the victim of suicide was selfish. They took themselves away from us. I was denied the opportunity to know my grandfather because of his suicide when I was a year old, and it certainly affected my parents’ ability to parent me. It hurts, a lot, and I do wonder why none of us were enough to stay around for, to get help for. The judgement of suicide victims as selfish comes from a place of deep personal pain. I would never look a suicidal person in the eye and accuse them of being selfish at the time, but having seen the multigenerational fallout of suicide, and the mess it leaves families to cope with, I would have to say that if someone who committed suicide could know what it does to everyone else, they very well may come to the conclusion that it is a selfish choice. Yes, they’re in (seemingly) unendurable pain, but they’re also causing some real pain. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

      • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

        There’s nothing “seemingly” unendurable about the pain depression causes.

        • Michelle Par

          If depression was actually, literally unendurable, every person suffering from it would commit suicide or just die from it. So, yes, it is seemingly unendurable. People do, however, endure, and many come out on the other side. I have.

          • http://www.enesvy.com/ Enesvy

            But every person is different. Unless you could literally step inside his body and experience his life, you can’t say it was endurable. Many people live with depression and endure. That doesn’t mean everyone has to or that everyone’s depression is the same. For you, it was “seemingly” unendurable. For Robin Williams, it was not.

          • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

            Poor man had just recieved some bad news, as his wife has revealed that he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s.

            You are right, everyone is different. Every sufferer of every ailment is different. Everyone handles pain, physical and emotional, different. Most of us don’t even know the limits of what we ourselves can endure.

          • anakinmcfly

            That doesn’t follow; not everyone experiences the same degree of depression. Like: I had tuberculosis and survived, but that didn’t change the fact that tons of people have died from it. Same with depression. Just because some manage to endure doesn’t change the fact that many do find it unendurable.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

        My mother passed away when I was six, due to complications of a very preventable disease. I was denied the opportunity to know her, and grow up with her in my life. Her religious beliefs robbed me of that.

        The death of loved ones due to disease, and one of the symptoms of a brain based disease is suicide, sucks. We mourn what could have been. We wish we could go back and prevent the inevitable. We hold on to what we have left, memories and stories, and a few photographs. 45 years after my mom’s death, from Peritonitis, there are still moments where I am drawn to tears. Cancer, Bi-polar disease, severe depression, addiction, lupus, heart failure. They all can do the same thing, take away the ones we love.

      • anakinmcfly

        I understand that, and I’m sorry for your loss.

        “and I do wonder why none of us were enough to stay around for, to get help for.”

        Often that *is* why they stay on so long – I read somewhere that Robin Williams had been struggling with depression for 40 to 50 years, and that’s a very long time to hang on. I think he also tried to get help, but it wasn’t effective. And in the end it’s a struggle, and sometimes it’s too hard to keep on fighting no matter what.

        There’s also the other side of how sometimes depressed people commit suicide *because* of the beneficial effect they think it’ll have on their loved ones – I read a comment from a father who once attempted suicide because he thought he was a horrible father and that his daughter would be so much happier and freer without him and his problems weighing them down. It was precisely because he loved her that he wanted to remove himself from her life.

        For me, I grew up in a typical conservative Christian anti-LGBT family and thought that even if I killed myself, the pain of loss wouldn’t be anywhere near as much what my parents would suffer if I were to come out to them. I couldn’t bear the thought of making them go through that, because I loved them, and that coupled with their comments about how gay people ‘deserved’ it when they got murdered convinced me that it was the right decision. So that led to a half-baked suicide attempt from which God saved me, but that’s another story. In the end it turned out a lot better than I thought, and I now have the full love and support of my parents, but back then I never dreamed it would be possible. And I honestly thought that suicide would have been the selfless choice if I loved them.

      • Bones

        I found my Dad with a self inflicted gsw to the head.

        I never ever blamed him for being selfish.

  • Leslie Marbach

    Exactly this. John, you nailed it.

    • http://johnshore.com/ John Shore

      Thanks, Leslie.

  • Bones

    I love the title.

    Now he can rest.

  • sgtgwn

    I would argue that he’s no longer in Hell. Suffering from depression is Hell.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/ Eric

    “but, alas, my hazmat suit is at the dry cleaners. So no go.”

    Hysterical and, no doubt, quite true. I mean, no one wants a dirty hazmat suit.

  • Worthless Beast

    I think I had the weirdest reaction to this. It culminated in me writing a really bizarre little science fiction story.

    At first, I was sad… and afraid. I’m bipolar. I personify my depression as a beast that always walks a few steps behind me whenever I am not actively fighting it. Always there, can never be slain. I always hate to see reminders that sometimes, the beast wins – especially in someone who seems like he would have known he was well-loved. Second, (not knowing who the heck Matt Walsh is, I suppose I shouldn’t look him up), reading some more random insensitive comments online (and about Zelda Williams being harassed) I got ANGRY. Angry in such a way that imagining my hands bathed in the blood of idiots for a few moments was the only thing that could calm me.

    And then, I got an idea for a short story that takes my feeling of living in a world where we only value each other as commodity and want people to hide their emotions up to eleven and wrote like I was lit on fire. I was sort of inspired, too, by reading Mr. Buzz Dixon’s ‘s blog, where he posts flash-fiction all the time.

    Eh, it’s here if anyone cares. I wrote just to exorcise something in myself, though. http://shadsie.deviantart.com/art/Commodities-475474741

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com/ allegro63

      Dang Beastie. Your short story is wonderful!

  • BarbaraR

    I knew better, and yet…. I skimmed the Matt Walsh article until my eyeballs burned and I wanted to throw the computer through the window. He has set the understanding of mental illness back about, oh, 700 years.

  • Linnea912

    Whenever I hear some judgmental jerk say that suicide victims are in hell, all I can think of is a line from an old song by Richard Marx (“Children of the Night”):

    “Lord, I know I’m bound for heaven, ’cause I’ve done my time in hell.”

    The song is about homeless kids, but that line could just as well be talking about people struggling with depression or other forms of mental illness, or for that matter, physical challenges.

    I also think of the former pastor of my church, who committed suicide in 2005. He was one of the most open-minded and caring people I’ve run across, and did a *lot* of good in his lifetime. I can’t believe that a loving man like him would be condemned to hell, just because he struggled with clinical depression. If anything, I believe he (and all suicide victims) are held extra close by God.

  • Bones

    What kind of mind throws Robin Williams in Hell?

    The internet is overcrowded with bad news about Robin Williams being in Hell.

    It makes me think about what kind of person would think that.

    I remember my dad used to use the phrase “pea brain”. It doesn’t have anything to do with IQ intelligence. It has to do with small-mindedness. Very smart people can be very small-minded.

    I’m not promoting the ancient theological ideas of Heaven and Hell, but exploring the kind of thinking that would condemn someone to suffer forever and ever in a place God created especially for them.

    What kind of mind believes, and therefore wants to believe, that Robin Williams is in this horrible place?

    A mind filled with the fear of people and lives different than their own?

    A mind stuck inside a small box of comprehension about the world?

    A mind that must have tidy categories to live by?

    A mind that can’t embrace the everyday life of everyday people?

    A mind that has very narrow parameters of morality?

    A mind that hates people who are famous but not outspoken believers?

    A mind that has no compassion for those who suffer?

    A mind that refuses to change even if faced with facts?

    A mind that thinks everyone else should be and believe like them?

    A mind that takes the bible absolutely literally?

    In short, is this mind a fundamentalist mind?

    I know many of the people who claim Williams is in Hell would say they didn’t put him there, but he did and God simply confirmed his decision and gave him what he deserved. This is a cop-out. It is an escape from personal responsibility. It is an inability to appreciate that their god, like all our gods, is a mental construct of their own thinking who fulfills all their wishes and meets all their expectations and demands.

    What they bind on earth they bind in their heaven. Of course Robin Williams is in their Hell, because this is where they think he should be, and the god they’ve imagined has created the perfect place for him.

    - See more at: http://nakedpastor.com/2014/08/what-kind-of-mind-throws-robin-williams-in-hell/#sthash.i2q1Agpa.dpuf

    • anakinmcfly

      Believes =/= wants to believe. While I’m sure that there’s no shortage of people who fit your description, I’m also sure that there are many who do believe he’s in hell – because that’s what they were taught – and really wish he wasn’t. I used to believe lots of people were in hell (because that’s what I was taught) and cry myself to sleep over it because I loved them so much and couldn’t bear the thought of them suffering forever.

      (if relevant, I also didn’t believe that God sent them there, because that’s not biblical, which claims that God wishes that all be saved and mourns each soul that is lost; but our choices due to free will are beyond his control.)

      That said, just because someone believes something doesn’t mean they have to say it, especially at a time when it’s obviously insensitive.

      • Bones

        Yeah. I was brought up in the Episcopal (Anglican over here) Church.

        Hell wasn’t talked about much at all.

        • anakinmcfly

          The whole teaching about hell is one of the reasons I sometimes wished I hadn’t been brought up in Christianity but instead came to it later in life if I so wished. So much of that stuff really screwed with my mind as a kid, and still affects me to this day.

          • Linnea912

            I can relate. I was a teenager when I started falling under the influence of Bible-bashing fundamentalists who liked to use the threat of hell to enforce conformity. It really effed with my mind, and much as I hate to admit it, still haunts me, twenty years later.

  • Andy

    I think the best thing to come out of this whole brouhaha, for me anyway, is that I discovered a website where some people who (a) have a higher tolerance for bullshit from people like him, and/or (b) thrive on proving such people wrong, read his drivel and address it cogently. In case you haven’t read Walsh’s post yet but would like to see an excellent rebuttal of this one or some of his others you may have heard about or been linked to, or if you just want to know the gist of whatever he’s blathering about without giving him page views, check out What is Matt Walsh Wrong About Today?

  • Josh Magda

    (From another blog where Brother Robin arose):

    Shame is about not belonging. How obscene it is that Jesus people are often the first to rush to judgment, to even suggest or float the possibility of post-mortem separation from God, for those who have been victimized by shame, by the sense of not belonging. (Not saying _______ has done this). God is the One that created a Universe where the possibility of experiential separation from God/The Good exists, even if it doesn’t exist ontologically. In the best of the Christian tradition, God accepts responsibility for this and enters so deeply into the fragmented Life condition, that merely encountering an icon of the Eternal (like Jesus) has the potential to burst open the Heart and bring liberation and wholeness and healing, and simultaneous dissolution of the powers of sin and spiritual death/separation/alienation. Love wins. That’s Jesus, folks. That’s our tradition. That’s the Sacred Spirit we know and Love.

    The possibility (implicit or explicit) of separation from the Sacred Spirit, of a God that might take our duress “into account” and may or may not push the salvation button is how bad religion maintains its control over people. So long as people are afraid of DoomGod they will never be able to fully enjoy God and to accept responsibility for themselves and their World. People should considering begging for mercy in a situation where there is the possibility of receiving something other than mercy, such as at a sentencing hearing when the defendant is guilty. The absolute last Reality we need ever ask mercy from is the Beloved. The outflow of God’s Compassion ALWAYS overflows our limited ability to receive it. God is Compassion. Compassion is the best name for God, according to Meister Eckhart. It is only the limited ability to receive (individually and/or corporately), which God is actively working to expand, that creates the experience of hell, wherever and however it occurs.

    So people should not have to pray that God will be merciful, or compassionate, any more than they should have to pray or wonder if their biological family and friends who attend their bedside will be compassionate. If they can’t be compassionate, they have no business seeing the patient in their time of trial, as it’s not about them. The same goes for God, or more accurately, our conceptions of God and ways of relating to God. Spiritual physicians should escort DoomGod out in the same manner as ordinary physicians escort disruptive visitors out. For there is more possibility of a break with our local relations than with the Holy One, where there is no such possibility. Instead, people need to Know and experience and invite and accept, within themselves, the compassion of God that never stops, never has stopped, and never can stop. We need to have spent a Lifetime acknowledging it, cherishing it, celebrating it, developing it.

    In order to do that, we will have to let go of shame in all of its many iterations, including its ecclesial disguises. And we have to put to bed forever, the notion that something we do or do not do may separate us from God.

  • Josh Magda

    (From same blog) In the case of people like Robin, the larger the Soul, the more attuned to all emotion it becomes, the painful ones included. Creativity is always a dance with chaos. The comedic genius, the ability to hear voices in one’s head to bring delight and healing to others, touching Life that deeply at its Source attenuates great Souls to the intensity of the pain of the World, their own included. That is part of the blessing of Creativity and this World. Intensification and expansion of pain is bound up with the growth of our Souls and the adventure of Love incarnate.

    I have felt it many times. It is only my Love for this World and the beings here that has kept me here many times when I have wished to be elsewhere. Certainly not my (all but nonexistent) fear of God, is what has kept me here. Being afraid of dying into God is like being afraid of an orgasm. Love for the World and all that is in it, is something precious and powerful enough to continue to allow people in profound inner pain to find the strength to continue Living.

    There is an article on the Atheist channel that is the best I have heard thus far on the legacy of his Life and his repeated hallowing of it, as he chose Love again, and again, and again. I’m grateful we Live in a Sacred Universe, a non-zero sum place where a single moment of inability to so choose, resulting in his no longer being “on display,” as it were, is not enough to extinguish HIM, and all of the Goodness/Truth/Beauty that is his enduring legacy. This goes for all of us, not just for those few that the human collective remembers. Big Momma never forgets. Sorrow may last for a night, but joy cometh in the morning .


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X