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John W. Pinkerton


There’s a program on cable TV I've been watching for a while entitled Preacher. It began as just a creepy,
weirdo show which, of course, I liked, but now it's moved on to become a search for God; yes, I said it: a search for God.  The principal character seems to believe God was last seen in New Orleans.  I like New Orleans---been there often---so I found that attractive.

It's not every day that you see someone on television looking for God; of course, there are a lot of folks who claim to have found him and just want to tell us all about the experience.  Most of these folks I'd like to put in a sack and throw in the river.  Yeah, I'm talking about you, Jim Baker.  Lord!

What makes the program even more intriguing is that God in Preacher is not an abstract, untouchable being.  He's flesh and blood and can be tracked down…maybe in New Orleans.

I guess most of us have heard a street preacher yell at passers by, “Have you found Jesus?”  Although I find these fellows' questions honest, I prefer to move along rapidly because I suspect they don't have any answers to where I might find him.

Being that I was raised in both the Baptist and the Methodist churches, I've always been of two minds about churches.  I preferred the Methodist church because they didn't yell at me as much---that and the fact that the membership seemed to be a notch up on the economic ladder.  That's just me I guess.

I suppose there are a lot of folks who never give God a second thought.  I ain't one of them.  As for who he is, well, like the preacher in Preacher, I'd like to know more about God.  As it stands now, I must admit that I know almost nothing about the deity.  Well, the reason I say I know almost nothing about him is because of all the competing ideas presented by the various Christian churches, who compete with the Jewish churches, who compete with all the other religions in the world.  I don't reject the thoughts presented by each, but I decided long ago to go my own way.  No, I didn't start my own church, but I did decide that it was probably best for me to do my own search for God---kind of like Paladin looking for bad guys in the old TV show Paladin.

A good friend of mine once commented that if Christians didn't believe in the resurrection of Christ, then they're just a bunch of guys with bad haircuts who meet on Sundays.  Although I do have a bad haircut, I've always wondered about the validity of the resurrection story of the Bible.  Now, I'm not saying it didn't happen: I'm just saying I've always had questions.  Maybe this is why I've always found the Old Testament folks, the Jews, to be more in line with my thinking.  When the churches threw the God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost at me, I damn near had a nervous breakdown.  Yes, as I said, I know next to nothing about God…except that he does exist. 

Another thing which I've always found a little questionable was the promise of everlasting life if one professes belief in Jesus.  Wait a minute!  Isn't that a bribe.  I must admit even as a young fellow, I refused to be bribed.  Now, I'm not denying the possibility of an afterlife…maybe even one involving clouds and harp music---but the carrot seems to be a poor excuse for professing one's faith.  I recall bringing a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses to their knees as I explained my thoughts on the matter.

I'll never forget my young nephew's response to a lady who spoke at the church the day he was confirmed.  She said that the day of confirmation was the happiest day until our deaths.  My nephew reacted with a sudden jerk of his body and a quick look over at his dad as if to say, “What the Hell is she talking about?”  I suspect that was a lot like my reaction to some of the church preachings when I was growing up---what the Hell are you talking about?

One thing about trying to make a go of the religious search without the formal church is that it doesn't permit one to find comfort within the walls of a church.  Churches are designed to be uplifting structures and some are inspiring.  One is pretty much without reassurance that what one believes is valid even on a superficial level.

Many Christians ultimately despair in their searches for the ideal church and surrender to the call of the Catholic Church, the original Christian church.  I don't think I'll go that route.  Too much negative history.  Too much ritual.

I guess I'll continue to go through what's left of my life kicking over rocks looking for God.  So be it.