I swear this really happened.
Monday evening I was at Pekara, the cozy little bistro on Neil St., because that’s where we Smile Politely editors have our weekly meeting. The meeting was canceled, but nobody bothered telling me. OK, they might have told me, but the truth is I delete 90% of the emails I get from the other Smile Politely editors without actually reading them, so I guess I’ll never know.
But I’m glad I showed up anyway because, first, Pekara has a fantastic tomato bisque and, second, I ran into someone I haven’t talked to in a while and ended up having a great chat.
Well, it was actually more like an interview.
And it was with God.
Now, don’t be deceived. If you had been there at Pekara on Monday evening, you may have not recognized God because God has been very misrepresented in contemporary U.S. pop culture. God is usually portrayed as an old white man, such as George Burns in the movie Oh, God! And sometimes God is portrayed as an old black man, such as Morgan Freeman, in Bruce Almighty. This is a little closer to the truth because, in reality, God is a middle-aged black woman. She’s actually a bit like Maya Angelou and Whoopi Goldberg rolled into one omnipresent being. Or maybe a little like the Oracle from the movie The Matrix.
Also, God is a lesbian and a feminist.
Anyway, God showed up at Pekara because apparently she, also, really likes their tomato bisque. And God agreed to sit with me and answer all the questions I could think of during the time it took us to slurp down our soup.
This is basically how it went down:
Humble Heretic: God, why is the world so fucked up?
God: You tell me. You’re the ones who did it.
HH: Fair enough. Then why are we so fucked up?
God: Well, it has a lot to do with death.
HH: Could you elaborate on that?
God: Sure. You might have heard your conservative evangelical friends say something like death is the result of sin, as if death were some sort of punishment for the wickedness of human beings. But that’s exactly backwards. Sin is actually the result of death—or at least it’s the result of your fear of death. You see, when people fear death, they act out of self-preservation (or selfishness). Think about it. Every terrible thing you humans do to each other, every awful way you treat one another, comes from you fear of death and your vain attempts at trying to prolong your feeble, short lives at the expense of others.
HH: So the trick is simply not to fear death?
God: Basically. That’s why so many people want to believe that Jesus conquered death by being resurrected. But the problem is that deep down inside, they don’t really believe it. They are trying to escape death by pretending it doesn’t exist even though there are cemeteries full of corpses that contradict them. What they should be doing is facing death.
HH: I think maybe this is too deep. Let’s move on. Who would you vote for? Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama?
God: It’s too bad I didn’t combine them into one person.
HH: Yeah. But which one would you vote for?
God: I really don’t think I should get in the middle of that.
HH: But you are a liberal democrat?
God: Shh. Don’t tell anyone.
HH: OK. What can you tell me about the Bible?
God: What do you want to know?
HH: Did you write every word in it.
HH: That’s not what some people say. Did you write any of it?
God: No. But there are some parts I really like. Then there are other parts I don’t care for much.
HH: Yeah, me too. Hey, can you do that trick like in Bruce Almighty where he parts his soup like Moses and the sea?
God: Yes. [performs soup miracle]
HH: Oh! That is so cool!
God: Elementary physics.
HH: So, what do you think of Smile Politely?
God: [smiles politely]
At this point God picked up her soup bowl and quaffed the rest of her tomato bisque. And before I could even thank her for answering my questions, she placed her empty bowl into the brown plastic tub and vanished into the evening.
Pekara is a holy place.