Disclosure: So, something weird happened. I felt compelled to write another book. I started writing it as a series of letters, which is why this is called Letter One. I three letters and 3,000 words in when I realized that it would work much better here, on the blog. So, if you see any mentions to it being a book, that’s because it was, but I changed my mind. I would go back and edit all of the references out, but I don’t know if that would work to well. Anyway, here it is!
Do you know God? Ah ha! There it is! You knew that religion was coming! Well, yeah, no shit. It’s probably on the cover somewhere. If you’ve read my last book, you would know that I’m a pretty outspoken Christian. I even consider myself an Evangelical, but a real Evangelical, not those Fundamentalist posers who like to Bible beat and tell everyone they’re going to hell. You will see no such thing from me. I call myself an Evangelical because I’m a Christian who evangelizes. I witness to others, and I’m constantly talking about God. It’s almost like I love him, or something. It’s almost like I’m a preacher, but I assure you, I am no preacher. I may preach, but I don’t have a church. I don’t know if I even want a church. I do know that I want to write, which is why we’re here.
Anyway, my question still stands. Do you know God? Now, I’m not just asking if you know about God. Everyone knows about God. Christianity is the most popular religion in the world. Everyone knows about God, but do you know God? See, I know about Buddah, but I don’t know Buddah. I know of Buddah and Buddhism due to its relevance in pop culture, but just because I know of something, doesn’t mean that I know it.
What is knowing God, anyway? Isn’t that just being a Christian? Doesn’t every Christian know God? No, I would venture to say that at least half of all Christians don’t know God. I mean, just look at the horrible things that Christianity has been responsible for. You think those guys knew God? They didn’t. If they did, they most likely wouldn’t have done those terrible things. Knowing God is more than just following a church, doctrine, or calling yourself a Christain. To know God is to have a relationship with the Lord. This can be tricky since God isn’t exactly the talkative type. It’s hard to understand what he wants from you, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find it. A lot of it is pretty simple. Don’t be an asshole. That’s pretty much one of the number one rules right up there with love everyone. I know that is a lot more crass than you’re probably used to, but I’m not a preacher, remember? I’m talking to you how I would talk to you, and that’s how I talk.
Anyway, having a relationship with God goes beyond the usual “Christian Duties”. In fact, it usually has nothing to do with them. Going to church and reading the Bible does not mean that you have a relationship with the Lord. They’re not bad starts, but you can have a relationship without doing either of those things. The most important things to do in order to have a relationship with the Lord are talking, listening, trusting, and working with him/allowing him to work through you.
The talking part is easy. It’s basically just prayer, but it’s not just your usual prayer. When you build a friendship, do you just say the same things over and over again? No, of course not. There’s nothing wrong with the Lord’s prayer, but prayer isn’t supposed to stop there. Talk to God. Actually talk to him. When he says to put your burdens on him, actually freaking do that. He’s like a therapist that controls the weather, which is basically just Merlin the Wizard, though, God also created all life as we know it, so that’s where the wizard comparison stops.
God wants to hear what you have to say. Talk to him. He’s supposed to be your friend. He’s your father. That’s what all the sermons and songs say, so why not actually treat him that way? That’s you first step to actually building a relationship with the Lord. It’s more than just talking, though. The more you talk, the more you become comfortable with God. This comfort leads to trust, and that trust is important. You can’t have faith if you don’t have trust.
Talking is the easy part. It may seem silly at first, but it becomes second nature real quick. The hard part is listening. Listening in general is hard, but when it comes to God, everything is like times ten. This probably has to do with the fact that God rarely talks directly. Has something to do with his mysterious ways and free will or something, but it’s just the way it is. Everything is indirect. Knowing this is key. Listening also involves looking. You’re basically looking for signs. Sometimes, they couldn’t be more obvious. Other times, they’re incredibly subtle. They range from actual signs, to a line of dialogue in a movie that triggers something. These signs can also be internal. If you ask God to answer something, he usually answers with a feeling. I find I get this mostly when I vote. I always pray before voting, asking God if I’m making the right choice. Usually, I get a feeling of warmth and a knowing that I made the right choice, but you have to be aware of this. Otherwise, you’d think that you’re just feeling good.
God works through people, so listening sometimes means listening to people. Hell, this book could be part of that. I don’t know why I’m writing it. I just felt compelled to, and now I’m nearing 2500 words. Perhaps God is speaking through me in order to help someone, or maybe it’s just the caffeine. That’s not for me to decide. Sometimes, God speaks through your friends and family, but other times he sends in complete strangers.
God also speaks through you. Those inklings and feelings you get, and sometimes even guilt, that’s usually the Holy Spirit. You have to pay attention because the Holy Spirit gets drowned out a lot. Sometimes, you completely over think what you felt, and you get something completely different than what the Holy Spirit intended. Sometimes you don’t feel it at all. Other times, you mistake something else for the Holy Spirit, and that’s never a good thing.
You ever listen to sermon that you know is wrong? You don’t know why, but it makes your stomach turn. You know the message is hateful or wrong, but you can’t quite pinpoint why because you’re not a scholar? That’s the Holy Spirit. When you feel this, listen. Listen to the Holy Spirit. They’re trying to tell you something. Listen to what they’re trying to tell you, and do it!
That brings us to the next part, which is the whole working through God/God working through you, thing. Once you’ve listened to what God has to tell you, you need to act on it. This can be as hard as listening because you may not know exactly what you need to do. This is okay. That’s natural. A lot of the time, it’s not just one thing that you have to do. When the Holy Spirit lays a message on your heart, or compels you to write a book, you do it. That’s a singular action, but most of the time, that’s not how it works. These feelings will manifest constantly, and you will find that you are called to do something all the time. It might not be just calling out the one preacher, but calling out everyone who spreads hate. Most of the time, once you’re in tune to hearing what God has to say, you will feel like doing stuff all the time. This is because he is leading you. You are supposed to be the hands of God, and doing the works yourself. Sometimes, it’s a one time thing like working at a soup kitchen. Sometimes it’s volunteering part-time at that soup kitchen, and other times it’s building your own soup kitchen from the ground up, and serving full time. God understands your means, and calls you accordingly. He’s not gonna call you to build something if you don’t have the ability to do so. He may, however, give you the ability to do so. So, if you’ve been plagued by dreams of building a soup kitchen, and you all of a sudden win the lottery, there’s a good chance you’re not supposed to spend all of that money on a fancy new car. God would be ok if you got a car, though. Just use most of the money to build the soup kitchen.
Once you actively put all three of these together, you start thinking like God. Not in a literal sense. You don’t start seeing the Matrix, but you do start seeing the world for how it is, and then start wondering how you can help. You start seeing how Christianity has been perverted, and it disgusts you. You see the fear and hate mongering going around, and it breaks your heart more than it would normally. When that happens, you’re real close to God.
This relationship also helps you understand the Bible, and this understanding will help you take on hate, and the way you take on hate is with love. The closer you get to God, the softer your heart will become, and the more open your mind will be. This doesn’t mean that you will be a pushover, no, but you will be more compassionate than ever before. You’ll be so compassionate that it will scare you. You’ll start praying for people that you previously wanted to burn in hell. You’ll start forgiving without a second thought, but you won’t forget, and because you won’t forget, you will get stronger. This strength will help you defend the weak, the oppressed, and the downtrodden. Most of the time, this will be non-violently, but there will be times where violence is necessary. Even Jesus found violence necessary on one occasion. Cracking a whip isn’t exactly a peaceful act. While violence is sometimes necessary, it is always a last resort, and you will know that. You will be slow to anger. That helps with being less violent.
Repeating these steps again and again, and soon, you’ll do them naturally. You’ll talk to God like a friend all the time, you’ll constantly be on the lookout for signs, and you’ll be eager as ever to do God’s will. What is God’s will? To love everyone. That is his will. Love everyone, and spread love every chance you get.
Well, I think that just about sums it all up. Have a blessed day.
Sincerely, The Autistic Cowboy.