I need to hear your voice God.
And so let’s talk, Mark. If that’s what you want.
About what, God?
What do you want to talk about?
Not sure really, just be nice to talk. With no agenda. Just whatever you want to say. Not a public conversation. Just us God. I’ve been asking you lots of questions lately, about my new book, my business, and those gnarly subjects – what you think about Gays, the Bible and whether God actually punished you, Jesus. But now I’m feeling the need for some you and me time.
Mark, I loved all those big public conversations.
Because I love to talk.
Ok that’s good, because right now I just need to hear you talk.
Whatever you want to talk about?
What if I want to talk about you?
Well… okay, as long as it’s not too mushy God.
Mark, you know I love you right?
Yes. Everyone knows that God, but it’s a bit touchy-feely to be honest, a bit too fluffy for comfort. Love is a word that’s overdone in Christian circles. Well, that’s what I think anyway.
Maybe overstated is a better word, God? There seems to be too much talk about love without a lot of understanding. Not you, God, obviously, but our Christian culture, a bit sickly sweet sometimes.
The upshot is that if you love me, I’d like some perspective on that, like to know what it really means - what you want me to do with that, so there’s some real meaning, rather than all the Christian fluff.
Mark, for me love is not a fluffy word. Everyone needs to know I love them.
You mean like when we’re feeling down.
Not only then, other times too. At night for instance, with a full moon on the water, a gentle midnight breeze pushing you up the coast – the slow rise and fall as your yacht pushes over the swells. Remember those times? On your own, on the water? Like ‘Cool Change’; Little River Band’s song, ‘staring at the full moon like a lover’. You love that song.
I do God, but some people might think that’s a bit ungodly, should you really be mentioning it here?
Mark, I love that song too, this might be hard to squeeze into your theology, but I inspired it.
God, now I’ll definitely be ruffling feathers, like the time I was talking with you while having a beer and listening to the Stones. People said that was evidence I’m a heretic.
Mark, the Bible is full of people hearing me while they did questionable things. But beer and the Stones are far from questionable.
God!! I’m losing my audience with every word you speak.
Stop worrying. I’m ok with all of this. Not only did I inspire Little River Band’s song, I like to play it, and I love the Stones.
What?? You listen to them?
Absolutely, I’m not religious like you, so I can enjoy the things I create. I invented music and Mick Jagger. I don’t need Spotify, I can listen in when you do. And anyway, the cosmos records all sounds in perfect pitch – I can replay them whenever I want - your scientists will be able to attest to that.
God really?? Little River Band, The Stones, and now Spotify?
Mark, loosen up, you love all those things. Don’t pretend otherwise! Humans, and that includes you Christians, need diversity in music, not an ever increasing sameness. The reason so much popular Christian music sounds all the same is not because my Spirit is ‘in it’ – that’s religious thinking - it’s actually because you Christians make it sound all the same. Which is a great pity - you, and I, need diversity in the music we listen to. You Christians need to push the boundaries, stop following each other, start leading each other.
God, a lot of my audience are going to have difficulty with that, probably even think you didn’t say it.
Mark, your job, should you choose to accept it, is to smash Religion. You’re not going to do that by sticking with his tired rule-bound Christianity. Be honest about what you hear me say, doing so smashes his religious lies.
OK, God, I’m going to ignore that oblique reference to the TV series ‘Mission Impossible’ - you were talking about midnight sailing up the coast. Yes, you’re right, I loved it. What about it though?
At a time like that, when you’re bursting with the sensation, thinking you want to share it with someone…
And then under your tiller hand you feel the surge of the boat as it responds to the breeze, and you look across and at me… and I smile and wink. Those times, that’s when it’s good to know I love you.
Ok true… Yes, that is very cool, but I wouldn’t call it fluffy. I think what I mean by fluffy is false.
My love’s not false, Mark.
OK… actually hang on a minute, God, before I respond to that, you just talked about me in the boat with you and looking across and seeing you wink - people will think I can actually see you or something.
You can if you look.
You mean like actually see you?
You can see what I’m saying - see my mood, my tone. You sense that I have winked at you. Moses saw me, the back of me, with his eyes. That’s different. But anyone can see me with their spirit.
Job understood this concept, Mark, have a look at what he said – “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.”
Suddenly Job could ‘see’ me as a result of conversation. Until then he had known about me, he had religion and traditional prayer, but that kept me at a distance – when conversation between us started, everything changed. Look at what he says;
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumours of you;
now I have it all first hand—from my own eyes and ears!”
OK, well, I expect part of my problem with fluffy love is my own hang ups – the stuff that makes it uncomfortable to be told I’m loved??
Yes that’s true, but what else Mark?
Well, us Christians, we’re all so blimmen lovey dovey - we tell each other we love each other, and I guess sometimes we do, but it’s certainly not that depth of love we feel for our friends and family. They’re the people we really love, until our Christianity begins to minimise the way we love them.
Christianity does what??
God, don’t play around, you know that Christianity is highly separatist. We talk about ourselves as your family and everyone else as ‘the world’. We’re not supposed to love our real friends and family, not in the same way we used to. We’re supposed to think they’re ‘in the world’, and we’re not.
It’s taken me 44 years to figure this out, but now I realise that’s just Christian bullshit. I’m not sure how we all miss it, but one of the key accusations against you was that you hung about with all the questionable characters. The temple going crowd were constantly accusing you of that.
Mark, Religion’s biggest lie is to keep you huddled together and irrelevant to the world. While fantastic people like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Mick Jagger and so many others are all trying to change the world, you’re all busy trying to escape it.
Religion has tricked you Christians into thinking you should love the world, (your old friends and family) just a little less, because your ‘new family’ (Christians) are holier than them. Which is rubbish!! If I loved the world so much that I would give my own son, how can you Christians possibly think it ok to love the world a little less??
God, you’re being particularly unspiritual - how can we possibly love the world even more, and yet somehow stay true to whatever is that you want.
Easy. You already know the answer - listen to me. Be in conversation with me. If you rely on your interpretation of scripture, or what Bible experts say it all means you’ll most often be wrong. You can’t rely on the Bible, Mark, I am the living word, it’s not. Scripture is useless to you unless you hear me explain what it means.
Yes, it’s God breathed and good for teaching and correcting, but only if you are actually having a conversation with me, otherwise the Bible is like a loaded gun in the hands of a toddler – likely to cause death and destruction. It has done for centuries! The Pharisees used a large part of it to justify killing me, the missionaries used it to crush indigenous culture, and so on.
Well, God fine, but our ‘love’ is supposed to be stronger for Christians, God’s family, “I love you with the love of the Lord”, blah blah blah. We’re supposed to enjoy each other more than our old friends and family who are ‘in the world’.
That’s a lie, Mark. I want you in the world, I want you to season it. You can’t do that when you’re trying to escape it all the time. You Christians are like salt that’s sprinkled on a meal and then bounces off the plate and onto the table. Wasted. You need to get back on the plate.
So that’s your new year’s message to me, God? Get back on the plate? Get less religious and fluffy, get more relevant to the world?
It’s a good start, Mark. I want you to do what you came to do, use your talents, not your Christianity.
My marriage came crashing down and me with it. The devastation began sinking in and me with it. Nothing I knew was the same anymore. It was horrible and I was terrified. I threw my pride to the wind and screamed (literally) to God.