What If God Was One of Us?

14 Sep

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I’m not doing that well this week—how you doin?  I feel like pond scum to tell you the truth.  I rarely feel this way because, by nature, I am an eternal optimist, and to know me is to be part of an instant party of laughter and joy, if I do say so myself.   I should be on top of the world:  My husband, WW, and I are meeting a daughter’s serious boyfriend for the first time (THIS COULD BE THE ONE, FOLKS!) this weekend, and my blog just topped off 50,500 views!  Who knew when I started this storytelling malarkey just over a year ago, anybody outside my family and friends would even bother to tap my space, let alone 50,000 and counting? So why am I so blue?  The whole world is going to Hell in a hand basket, that’s why! I’m in mourning over what has happened in Libya and the rest of the Middle East, just when it seemed as if liberty, justice, and freedom had come to visit during the Arab Spring and were unpacking their bags.  But now it seems that various factors of the religious entities of the world (Muslims, Christians, Jews, and including the Mormon running for President and the Republicans who claim to be “the moral guardians of God”) have forgotten that we all bleed red and have the same tenet running through our religious ideologies:  “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”   As I mourn for Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and his staff, I can hardly breathe; let alone write a blog about how we “need to love each other and all get along.”  What’s the point?

I’ve got so many questions but they all boil down to one observation:  none of us (not one) has seen our particular God face to face, so we all need to chill and remember we all could be wrong about an entire host of things regarding our individual religions.  And maybe that is the point, which is why I’m going to spend the rest of the week meditating on the old Indian parable about the blind men and the elephant as I contemplate what it means to live in a world where we all see the meaning of life through a foggy glass and deem it fine and dandy to demean, disparage, bear false witness, blaspheme, and kill innocent people “in the name of our particular god” over some perceived slight that was the creation and promotion of a couple of demented cretins.

You remember that old 19th Century poem by John Godfrey Saxe don’t you (and I loosely paraphrase) where six or seven blind men from Indostan approach an elephant for the first time, which the poet dutifully labels as our “theological wars.”  As each man touches a different part of the elephant, their description of what they believe an elephant is like is completely different from the other blind men, yet they are all right and they are all wrong.  The poem ends as such:

And so these men of Indostan

Disputed loud and long,

Each in his own opinion

Exceeding stiff and strong,

Though each was partly in the right,

And all were in the wrong! 

So, oft in theologic wars

 The disputants, I ween,

 Rail on in utter ignorance

 Of what each other mean,

 And prate about an elephant

 Not one of them has seen!

I am discovering that until we pass beyond the reality of this life into the next, we only have theories about life:  how it began, who began it, and how it will all end.  Until Mother Theresa (the Saint), Christopher Hitchens (the Atheist), Martin Luther King, Jr (The Liberator), and Adolf Hitler (The Asshole Murderer who, if he isn’t in Hell, would make me seriously doubt the validity of God) to name a few, come back and tell us what they’ve seen, we’d all better chill.  Until they tell us that God is or isn’t real and Heaven and Hell do or do not exist, we better figure out that we all bleed red and we’ve only got one planet and one life to live (sorry my Hindu friends, but I’m pretty sure I’m right about this—yet again, I could be wrong!), so we better learn how to honor the one theme that flows through all our religions regardless of the gods we serve:  Do unto others as we would have others do unto us!  (Yeah, that’s the point!)

Image from


“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image, when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”—Anne Lamott

“Scapegoating will go on forever. We need someone to blame – illegal immigrants, single moms, people in prison. We need someone to victimize.”—Winona Ryder

“Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

“If God had a name, what would it be?

And would you call it to his face

If you were faced with him in all his glory

What would you ask if you had just one question . . .?”

What if God was one of us?

Just a slob like one of us

Just a stranger on the bus

Trying to make his way home.”

 “What If God Was One of Us?” by Eric Brazilian (as sung by Joan Osborne)

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Posted by on September 14, 2012 in Uncategorized


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25 responses to “What If God Was One of Us?

  1. talesfromthemotherland

    September 14, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    I think we also need to remember that a VERY small and violent group of Muslims, a very small and loud group of Christians, and a very stupid and misled group of Jews have stirred up all of this heartache and trouble. Most of the other members of those groups would stand arm and arm with us, against the rest. Very disturbing week indeed my friend. Makes a mama feel pretty damned uneasy that her daughter just went over there to live. 😦

    • etomczyk

      September 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm

      BJD: You’re so right! On my personal FB page, I have a great picture of Libyans holding up a sign that says this violence does not represent Benghazi or Islam. Other signs said “we loved Ambassador Stevens–he was our friend.”

      I had forgotten about your daughter being in the region. It is understandable that you are worried. I will add her to my prayers along with the people I know who are living in Iraq and Egypt. Take care.

      • talesfromthemotherland

        September 15, 2012 at 1:12 am

        BJD? If you knew what part of my email that refers to, you’d laugh… Dawn is good. 😉 Yes, there are SO many out there who have nothing to do with what a loud minority are doing. It is beyond horrific. I am grateful for any prayers that are offered. It is scary to have my daughter over there, having just converted to Orthodox Judaism and proud to tell anyone! Right now, there are a lot of extremists who would target anyone with the wrong name, jewelry, prayer book… thanks for the concern Eleanor. It is indeed hard not to let this all bring us down.

      • etomczyk

        September 15, 2012 at 1:32 am

        Dawn: This may not be much consolation, but having lived where your daughter now lives (one of my children born there), it is one of the safest places on the globe to be because they know how to handle chaos and mayhem. Americans are so used to loose borders and until 9-11 we felt we were impervious to any type of attacks on our soil. When you live in a country where the citizens know what to look for, how to look for it, and where to go if they suspect something, it is a lot safer. I always felt so much safer and securer there than I do here on any given day. Our relatives back home in the states could never understand that, of course, but it was true.

      • talesfromthemotherland

        September 15, 2012 at 1:45 am

        Thanks E; I really appreciate the reassurance. Principessa tells me that all the time, but it is indeed hard to imagine from so far away. BTW, you my friend are up waaay too late! I know you don’t need as much beauty sleep as the rest of us, but… Thanks! 😉

  2. Babygirl

    September 14, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Word mama!

  3. Valentine Logar

    September 15, 2012 at 7:33 am

    So will stated. We face this, nationally and personally every single blessed or cursed day of our life. We can either rise above or sink below. We can either reach our hands across great divides or we can burn those bridges and fire missiles.

    What we are as a nation and who we are as individuals can be either magnificent or terrible.

    • etomczyk

      September 17, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      Val. So true. I am really amazed that with every great religion is this paranoia and fear of those outside of the religion we embrace. I’m furious at some of those calling themselves “Christians” who nurse a deep vein of Islamophobia and then use it as an excuse to spit on the beliefs of Muslims. I’m appalled and dismayed at Muslims who would murder innocent people over a video they’ve never seen. The thing that saves my heart and my mind is that I have friends who are Muslims and they wouldn’t hurt a fly, so I know the people who killed our Ambassador and staff don’t represent all Muslims. My Muslim friends know me as a Christian friend, and they know I figure my God can take care of himself and he doesn’t need me to lead a crusade or a pogrom in his name if I get “offended” on his behalf. They know the second greatest Christian commandment is to “love my neighbor as myself”f–they know it because I try and live it with them. Thanks for stopping by and leaving such an excellent comment.

  4. morristownmemos by Ronnie Hammer

    September 15, 2012 at 8:08 am

    At this point I think the crowds are just joining in and ranting, setting fires and being bad because it’s the thing to do. If you asked one of them why he’s destroying everything around him, he probably wouldn’t even know. But it’s fun to be lawless and act in a normally unacceptable way. Crowd mentality, especially for the uneducated, poverty stricken jobless young men out there in the streets.

    • etomczyk

      September 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm

      Yep, Ronnie, you’ve said it well. It just wants to make you stand up and scream! Thanks for stopping by–I truly appreciate your support.

  5. maryisidra

    September 15, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Well put. I so love that song. There is a “school (?)” of thought that God is in Every Thing and Every One. Yes; that blade of grass that rock that crabby old lady.The Sun Moon and Stars. That is where The Golden Rule comes in for me at least. Hope this makes sense. The mess over seas is awful and disturbing and to close for comfort… My Prayers to all affected and for Us…Blessings from Alabama…..

    • etomczyk

      September 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      Mary: Every religion has the potential to have that murderous bent to it when taken to the extremes by the fanatical–even people who say they don’t believe in God. We all want our way or it’s the highway! I really want to live a life that embraces each person I meet where they are and extend grace, peace, and love to them where they are, because we all see through a glass darkly and none of us are God. Thanks (as always) for taking the time to read and comment. You’re the best!

  6. composerinthegarden

    September 15, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I just keep saying to myself “blessed are the peacemakers.” And congratulations on your numbers – yea!

    • etomczyk

      September 17, 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Lynn: Me too. . .along with “make me an instrument of your peace.” Take care, my friend.

  7. aFrankAngle

    September 20, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I’m with you … but I keep saying to myself that although the idiots and assholes make the news, the majority of the world are good people! On the other hand, a local Tea Party person wrote about scripture and politics … thus i think you can only imagine …. so I won’t get you going. BTW – I will use one of his quotes in Friday’s Opinions in the Shorts.

    • etomczyk

      September 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm

      Frank, Oh no, not the Tea Party and Scripture! I hate it when “darkness tries to interpret light.” You’re right that I don’t need to get worked up. That 47% of Mittens got me so pissed of that I can hardly breath. I’m trying to come up with a story this week that doesn’t involve Mittens or politics because I think people have had enough and just need to laugh but it sure is hard not to take the bait. See you soon.

      • aFrankAngle

        September 21, 2012 at 6:26 am

        I admit that I couldn’t read the entire Tea Party column … just couldn’t do it. They are a piece of work.

  8. Hudson Howl

    September 21, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Big hug for this.

    Thank you, yet again for saying what I think but cannot find the whereforall to say it when it counts. You got a little bit poet in ya there as well, ‘E’. Lets just hope, were both around to witness the day, when the world puts down the hard hard words and picks up the softer ones and just learn to ‘let it’ be for once.

    • etomczyk

      September 21, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Dear Hudson. Isn’t it the truth! I feel as if we’re fighting for that very soul of our nation (kindness, grace, mercy, brotherly love, patience) during these times. It takes a lot not to get discouraged.

      Stopped by your place when I needed a break yesterday. I didn’t have time to leave a comment (needed the meditation more), but I will do so later. Thanks for all your grace, my friend.

  9. aFrankAngle

    September 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Hey E-Tom, Because I didn’t want you to miss this, here’s the thesis statement for a recent Tea Party column in our paper – “He (God) would agree with Tea Party principles, not because He agrees with us, but because we agree with Him.”

    • etomczyk

      September 27, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Yikes, Frank! These Tea Party people drive me freakin’ nutz! You can almost hear God saying: “Get away from me; I never knew you.”

      • aFrankAngle

        September 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm

        I’m right with you. I kept the article, thus I’m using another quote which will go live in the next 1-2 hours. Believe me, the local group here is not only loud, it’s active and involved in county government!

  10. Helly

    October 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Oh, I always enjoy reading your things. You’re so insightful! I just wanted to leave a comment because I’ve felt this way so much lately. I’m so tired of the arguing and finger pointing. I feel like a record on repeat. One of my good friends lost her father to suicide this last week, and I struggle to even be able to comfort her because I’ve felt so lost myself. The world is full of pain and I feel very small when I think of trying to fight against it.

    But on a personal level, I’ve been writing more and feeling happier trying to put myself out there. I guess when it comes right down to it, even if we write about being sad, scared, or disappointed, at least we’re still writing. Right? That must count for something.

    • etomczyk

      October 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm

      Helly, so sorry to hear of your friend’s loss. Suicide is so devastating. There is not much that any of us can do in those situations except “sit in the dust” and weep with our friends while we hold them in our arms. Words seem so insufficient at these times.

      One needs to write about what one sees and feels because writing is such a consummate form of healing and insight. So keep writing, and all the best to you. Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving such a heartfelt comment.

      • Helly

        October 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        I agree. It’s all I can do to be there for her. Just let her cry if she needs to and talk if she wants to. I know there’s no magical phrase that will heal everything, but sometimes I desperately wish there was such a thing. Thank you for your advice! All the best to you.


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