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I’m an Atheist

His eyes looked extra blue today. It may have been that slim fit white polo with light blue stripes or the glasses he wore because he knew it would make me happy… and he probably didn’t want to deal with his contacts, but for story sake, it was for me. I even got to try them on.

I reached over the table and snagged the glasses off his face. I needed something to entertain me as we waited for the African American server with a bindi piercing on her forehead to bring us our Thai food. As I put them on my face, I realized that my left eye could see about fine, but my right eye, it struggled. We joked about how blind he is, in one eye, and shifted our dinner conversation.

I had just got back from coffee with a friend who was visiting from college, and I shared with him how she melts my heart whenever she comes to mind. No, not the romantic melt-my-heart, but the love that says, “I’m so lucky to know an outstanding and unique person such as you.” You know, sometimes you absolutely love someone for who they are, mostly their quirkiness or maybe their originality.

One time after we got coffee together, I blew her a kiss. She grabbed it out of the air, threw it in her mouth, and chomped down. The attention I got from the rest of the coffee shop for my outburst of laughter left me slightly embarrassed. “Oh my gosh I love you,” I laughed as she walked away.

I continued to tell him how my friends at my university blow me away by the depth of their character.

“Praise Jesus,” he jested, sipping on his Thai iced tea.

He knows I go to a Christian university. We joke about it sometimes. If anything, he grew up with more of a Catholic background, but he’s not a really fan of Christians or God, or so it seems. I don’t blame him. It was a difficult task for me to stay connected to the church, and I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t gone for the Christian college emersion technique.

“Shut up,” I jokingly sneered. “They really are outstanding people, beyond the Jesus stuff. I think you have the wrong idea of Christians.”

These wrong ideas are the shackles that inhibit people from gaining a better understanding of God, the immense jungle that we limit to some trees, vines, and coconuts. If we hold on to these limitations, we will never see the different breeds of animals sneaking through the jungle brush, the trillions of species of insects bouncing across the leaves, and the families of delicious fruit hanging from the limbs of the zapote trees.

God is more than we Christians share. We’ll throw out words like “omnipresent,” saying that God is always with us, but we leave out where and fear to say how. I’m an atheist too when it comes to the tree-vine-coconut God, the expansive, over-arching figure evaluating our every act. I believe in the God who is already present in miniscule good that seen all around us, in both the acknowledged and the neglected:

Revealing in the cycling ministries of our Mormon friends,

Renovating in the truth-demanding, honesty-yearning questions of a non-believer,

Reconciling in the authentic and healing love found between two homosexual men.

Through extensions of the love and Spirit of God, the work of God is displayed in the crevasses of each relationship between individuals.

One of our greatest problems is starting with the lofty idea of “God,” where people already have their lack-love, judgmental presuppositions and theories that must be broken down. Perhaps we should start with Truth, Hope, and Love, the things that everyone believes in and longs to see. Tell them to pray to Truth, to sing of Hope, and to paint for Love. Then, hopefully, they discover that these three figures all have the same name, Yahweh.

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One response to this post

  1. Sarah Tyler

    Sean, you have such a loving spirit which is evinced by your writing. I've found too often we try to model God into something that coincides with what we want Him to be rather than what He truly is, it's like choosing to only reveal or perceive one facet of a gem, it deprives it of it's fire and depth. The God I love overwhelms me and truly awes me daily, He challenges and encourages, chastises and comforts. He is often beyond my comprehension and yet the dearest friend I have. I think you know something of the God I know. 🙂

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