Dealing With Greatness


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March 20th: Dealing with long recessions. Dealing with a long winter. From one age to the next, how long has this been going on? Yet this collective group of people alive on earth worried about global warming, about economic disintegration, as if they could solve these troubles on their own. Was it, in human history, just another long winter? Was it just another big recession, with the loss of material wealth? Or was this the end of the world?

Dealing with greatness. Individually. In the middle of no where.

Dealing with greatness: Individually. Collectively. A 5-year old in formation. The star goalie in a college hockey tournament, my sisters claims to have known since he was 5. A hockey team dealing with sudden greatness. Dealing with its greatness, and a number 2 cede in next week’s NCAA tournament.

One of my all-time favorite books was written by Jack Miles. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996. God: A Biography, recounts the growth of God as a character within the narrative of the Tanakh, the 5 Books of Moses, the Books of the Prophets (Nevi’im), and the Book of Writings (Ketuvim), as a tale of existence of God as the Judeo-Christian deity. God who needs a chosen people, and a Chosen People who need God. It is never delved into but at some point these books went through a process of canonization, like the bishop of Rome sets forth with the dead.

Ever since reading the book, I have thought of the growth of God over time. What has He learned with each generation of people? It is taught that God had no beginning. And Miles writes about the years that God spent in solitude. God, dealing with His greatness. Alone. This period says a lot to me about mankind’s affliction with addictions.

God. Created in the image, formed in the likeness. Of God. Dealing with greatness. Dealing with loss. Of another generation. A God who has seemed to change over time. Having to work on formation, after the loss of the previous generation.

God. Jesus of Nazareth. His inheritance from his father as a carpenter. The training, as Joseph son. With business coming from clients who had always come to this family for their needs. The income until he was thirty. Spending the rest of his life, the minutes, whatever money he saved, directed to the end. To spend all of his talent, with not one thing wasted.

God, dealing with His greatness. And God’s son, dealing with greatness. We never really hear about those years, in the sequel to the Hebrew Bible. Whether there were grandparents on each side of the family. Or cousins. What Joseph’s dad did, or the other grandfather married to Ann. Instead we hear about a focus of how men and women should deal with our individual, our collective, greatness. The Christian world hears the stories focused on the divine, about dealing with loss. That was the story instead most people contended with in old age. The loss of money. The loss of loved ones. The diminishment of life.

Crime. Punishment. Dealing with it all. A God who has seemed to change over time. Dealing with greatness, dealing with loss. In his book, Miles “shows us a God who evolves through his relationship with man, the image who in time becomes his rival, per the back cover of Miles’ book. The growth of God as seen in the greatness of a one-time 5-year-old, after formation. Now, the star goalie in a college hockey tournament,

“Here is the Creator who nearly destroys his chief creation – in the story of Noah. Here is the Creator, the bloodthirsty warrior and the protector of the downtrodden; the lawless law-giver; the scourge and the penitent,” says the inside liner of the Knopf book.

A reaction to the world and its poverty. The illiteracy. The unfairness. The rich and the poor. Dealing with loss. The denial. The anger. The bargaining. The grief. Acceptance and growth. Created in the image, formed in the likeness. Of God. God: A Biography, recounts the growth of God as a character within the narrative. I think of my own character growth, in current times. Me, dealing with loss. A nation, dealing with its greatness and loss. That seemed to be the theme of 2009, in both my life and life in the United States.

Dealing with forgiveness.

God asking: “What am I going to do with you? What are you gonna do now? And what am I gonna do now?” And hoping to find a human answer to all of this.

God: A Biography.

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