Amen -- brother Ben...
Shot a rooster
and killed a hen!
When I was a kid I was being raised in one of those rigid "devil's out to get you" environments -- and God was pissed at me!
Who wouldn't drink and go nuts if the devils out to get them and what God has in store for them is even worse.
I'd walk into a church, look up at the statue or the picture and think...
"Dang! That's what happened to the One He loved! What do you suppose they'll do with me????"
Then, in school -- I heard:
"Do this and do that -- and you can expect this"
And, when I did this and did that -- I always got "that!"
The "Amen Ben" quote above was something us bad kids used to say at church outtings.
Had no idea what it meant back then other than it sounded funny.
I freaked out when I first came to AA and heard "Hey... why don't you come up w/ your own conception of God -- and let it be one that works for you instead of destroys you?"
I thought for sure that God would be ticked off at that one!
I was taught "you're just supposed to believe this, believe that, and not ask questions or God will smack you for asking questions! Mind your Elders, (which was anyone older than me)... do as your told, don't ask questions" -- and "NEVER under any circumstance discuss 'what goes on in the family -- outside the family! "
So, I rebelled. I got defiant. I figured I was going to burn in hell anyway... after the devil was finished w/ me -- so I might as well turn it on and party as hardy as I could as long as I could -- rebelling against anything and everything that 'I was supposed to do or be'. I was Born To Lose -- and a Born Loser -- so... I was going to win, take, cheat, steal, fight and do whatever I had to do to get whatever I could get -- before my final hand was dealt!
When my perception started to change was when I was finally dying the last time... I couldn't drink and I couldn't not drink. To drink would kill me and to not drink was killing me.
So, I got on my knees and said a simple prayer: "God, whoever you are -- please don't hate me for praying -- and don't hate me because I'm dumb and don't know who or which God to pray to -- or if there is one of you or a hundred of you... I'm trying to reach that God that helps those drunks in AA... and I'm going to die if I can't find Him/Her. Please help me find that God -- and I'm willing to go to any lengths at all to not drink again -- ever -- even if not drinking kills me."
It took some time and I began to discover "A Loving God" that cares about me and cares about us.... and, as I was going through my 12 Steps, something started happening to change my mind about God and Religion and Religious Folks. I discovered that even their God -- the One I thought that was out to get me -- was a Loving God, too -- and that myself and some others that I grew up w/ had it wrong about Him.
On my 4th Step List -- and on my 8th Step List, and in my 9th Step... God was at the top of my list.... I had included God in my inventory... top of list for resentments. By the time I got finished w/ 4/5/6/7 -- I saw that God would always be at the top of my amends list. That I would NEVER be able to make full and complete and direct amends to God, and to those that I had harmed & hurt -- because of their belief's in God. So, they had to be on my amends list, too....
Who am I... that I could ever even faintly comprehend or define God... other than to know that "He Is" and "He Is A Loving God -- and He cares about us." And, that's the most I can ever know about God.
But, I don't think it's about "knowing about God" -- I thinks it's all about "knowing God." I don't have to know about God to know God. Just like my neighbor next door or across the street... I don't have to "know about" my neighbor -- to "know my neighbor." I don't have to "know about" a stranger to know that the stranger is one of God's kids -- and regardless if the stranger is as dumb as me or not -- God Loves the stranger just as much as He loves any of us!
So, I steer clear of religion. Other people are more qualified to figure out religious stuff. I'm not qualified. The only thing I'm qualified to do is to try to help someone -- and to do it -- because that's what God want's me to do.
His will is real simple for me...
1. Stay sober.
2. Help others.
3. Be happy, joyous and free -- because that's what He wants for me.
Regardless of what I'm doing -- even if it's out on a lake in a boat -- I can keep my eyes open to notice "Is there someone out here I can be of help too?" And... "if I catch some fish... do I throw them back or see if someone on the bank that's not catching fish would like to have the fish I caught?"
Works for me....