I've been spending a lot of time recently staring at computer or television screens that show the current depressing state of the United States stock market, which reflects a global financial crisis.
I'm not a masochist.
I just find this whole meltdown fascinating on all sorts of levels: personal, societal, philosophical. My core emotional reaction to the 40% decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year has mirrored my descent into churchlessness.
At first, I felt uncomfortable.
But now I'm feeling a sort of strange bliss that's akin to the sensation of being strapped into a roller coaster. All you can do is hang on for the ride and hope that after a bunch of wild ups and downs, you'll step out onto the platform in one piece.
The first day the stock market dropped precipitously I was anxious. After that, I realized there was nothing I could do about it – and nobody else could either.
Not the Treasury Secretary. Not the Federal Reserve chairman. Not the presidential candidates. Not Congress. And especially not George Bush. Nobody was in control.
Pretty much like the way life always is.
We just like to pretend, when things are fairly stable, that we know what's going on and can chart a desired course. This illusion dissolves when calamity strikes, as it inevitably must (death, for individuals; recessions/depressions, for countries).
Actually, I find this comforting. If somebody's in control, me or anyone else, I'm prone to worry about where they're heading. But when stuff just happens I can relax and say whatever… .
I decided to fire up Google and see if anyone thinks the economic crisis is God's will (not counting the God of Chaos). I like to think that it is, since the monetary meltdown has done wonders for Barack Obama's presidential campaign and it'd be nice if God was on Obama's side.
I found that Neale Donald Walsch had been pondering this question last month as part of his regular, and highly profitable, conversations with God.
There are those who say we are on the verge of a major, major economic collapse in this country and around the world. Today's events with one-time financial giant Lehman Brothers declaring bankruptcy, together with last month's government bailout of Fanny and Freddy, make it clear that the world is teetering at the edge of such a collapse.
And so once more we have to ask, as we did on Friday with regard to Hurricane Ike….Is this the will of God?
His answer, which came in another blog post, was deliciously ambiguous. Or to put it more cynically, typical Walschian blather. It seems that both God and humanity are in charge of the crisis, since God has willed that we do God's will.
Is all of this God's Will?
I believe not. Not in the classic sense that people understand the use of that term "God's Will." In the larger sense of the term, it IS God's Will...because God's Will is our will -- that is, the will of humanity, expressed collectively and individually through all of our thoughts, words, and actions.
I believe that there is no separation between Divinity and Humanity; that God and we are One. I believe that we are all Divine, and that some of us do not know it, do not experience it, do not believe it, do not accept it.
Well, if we are God, then there's no need for talk about two entities. Why not leave "God" out of the picture if what's happening in the world is entirely our own creation?
(First answer that comes to mind: because then it'd be a lot tougher to sell books purporting to describe conversations with God.)