Degrees of separation from God

Why can't atheists solve exponential equations? Because they don't believe in higher powers.

How do you describe a schizophrenic Zen Buddhist? A man who is at two with the universe.

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Seriously, why are we so out of touch with the Divine? All creation echoes gift and beauty, but we are blind. We have created degrees of separation between us and God.

There was a time when I went home from work, tired after a fruitful day. The stars shone above me, I breathed deeply of the rich fragrance of nature's fall foliage which was mingled with the smell of threshed wheat and baled straw.

Today the worker rushes home trying to beat the traffic to the next intersection, breathing shallowly of the exhaust fumes while ignoring the billboards in the smog.

There are layers of separation between us and God. Some of them are man-made. Some create a constant sound barrier of the latest tunes, the top 20 or the ipod mix of favourites in a world of texting and googling.

Most laud it as virtue to be "over-busy and consumed by work, particularly during our generative years when the duties of raising children, paying mortgages, and running our churches and civic organizations falls more squarely on our shoulders" (from "Working too hard" - Rev. Ron Rolheiser).

Ron goes on to say, "The demands never end and we are always conscious of some task that we still need to do. Our days are too short for all that needs to be done Workaholism is the one addiction for which we get praised." We begin to draw more and more of our meaning and value from our work.

Six degrees of separation is the idea that everyone is on average six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world, so that a chain of "a friend of a friend" statements can be made to connect them. The original idea by Frigyes Karinthy turned into a play by John Guare, and later into a movie.

St Paul talks about what separates us from the love of Christ, and names more than six: "Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword" separate us from Christ? Paul assures us that "neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:35-39).

It is possible to find the stars in the sky, to see the sunrise and set, and to walk again with God in nature. Feel the love. Was that a flower we just passed?

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