Don’t Unsubscribe From God

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin

I don’t do much online shopping. I don’t like it and I’m not very good at it. What I end up getting shipped to me always seems different than what I ordered. I much prefer to shop in person where I can better size-up the product I’m buying.
One of the things I don’t like about online shopping is that once the vendors get your email address, they go after you like a swarm of bees. Regularly – even daily – they send you ads to market something you really don’t want or need. For example, you buy a suitcase online, and they proceed to harass you with pictures and ads of more suitcases. “I just bought one,” I scream at the screen when the relentless ads pop up.
Fortunately, the online shopping experience has an exit ramp and that’s the little “unsubscribe” button found at the bottom of the page. Although it’s there, it’s pretty clear that the vendors really don’t want you to use it – it’s obscure and small, and dare to click on it and you get a response that says something like: “Are you really sure you want to unsubscribe?” It’s a good strategy. They first make it hard to unsubscribe, and then lay a guilt trip upon you if you do.
It strikes me that in our contemporary society, lots of folks have unsubscribed from God. They don’t want to be bothered by God and they’re not interested in anything he’s selling. God tells us to keep the Commandments to keep us morally safe and sound. “Not interested,” they say. God offers us help when we run into difficult times. “Don’t need it,” they respond. God is anxious to forgive our sins. “Haven’t done anything wrong,” they claim. God shows us the path to heaven. “No thanks, I’ll use my GPS” they say.
Saint John Paul II spoke about the “practical and existential atheism” of our age. He explained that man doesn’t bother to formally deny the presence of God these days, but he simply tries to live without him. John Paul was describing a culture that has unsubscribed from God.
St. Paul preached to the Athenians about the God “in whom we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28) In other words, Paul proclaimed, we need God to stay alive, to stay fully alive. Without God, we die. Without God, our culture dies. And perhaps that’s what’s happening to our nation today.
Something to think about: You can’t get close to God online. You have to know him and love him in person.


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