Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Silent Partner

I am currently interacting with a person who has a partner. I met the partner once; seemed a likeable enough person. Nothing out of the ordinary.

And throughout our interactions, I notice this fellow peppers the conversation with, “My Partner requires…” or “We have to do this because my partner says so.” And a pattern emerges. Whenever the news is bad, or the requirement is difficult, this partner—this Silent Partner—is the one who is doing the demanding and requiring.

I am starting to suspect that perhaps…just perhaps… the partner had no clue they are being used as a scapegoat for bad news. That maybe he doesn’t want to come right out and say it, and lessens the blow by blaming the Silent Partner.

God makes the perfect Silent Partner. Think of it—a person can present themselves as most reasonable; it is that they are bound by this Silent Partner to explain away their homophobia. “Oh, I hate the sin, but love the sinner….but…[big sigh]…my Silent Partner says it is an abomination so I must protest against gay marriage.” “I would normally encourage your endeavors but…[clucking of the tongue]…my Silent Partner will not allow me to associate with heretics, so you are on your own.”

The analogy is not perfect in that the fellow I am dealing with is deliberately mis-stating what the Silent Partner doesn’t say; whereas theists truly believe the Silent Partner is making this claims—however there is one strong similarity. Both Partners are Silent.

Think of it—1000’s of theists right this moment are telling others what their Silent Partner is saying and the Partner is not disagreeing. Even though these theists all disagree with each other, they claim the same Partner—God.

This is what has made theism continue to proliferate. You can say anything--anything--and claim it is not YOU who says it, but rather a Silent Partner. A god. One time the Silent Partner says eating pig was O.K. (Adam – Moses). Then the Silent Partner said eating pig was bad. (Moses – Jesus). Then the Silent Partner said eating pig was just fine again.

Of course, only a cynic would think it was the humans that changed. Not the Silent Partner.

At one time the Silent Partner said slavery was fine. Then it wasn’t. Divorce was bad. Then sometimes O.K. Now it is fine again. And the Silent Partner seems to keep changing his rules as to when Divorce is or is not acceptable.

At some point we non-believers start to desire to hear from the Silent Partner. If we are to be condemned or condoned or fried or favored—we would like to reasonably understand the basis of why this Silent Partner is making his/her decisions and not what the human claims.

What is humorous is the extreme to which we convinced ourselves the Partner was Silent. As teenagers we made out behind the church or in the parking lot where the Youth Sponsors couldn’t see us. Our God/Silent Partner supposedly could see us; but he wasn’t around. He was SO silent, it was like…to us…he wasn’t there. As Older Christians we gossiped about the person, but never to the person because our Silent Partner…well…he was silent, see? Didn’t say anything about it.

Or we loaded up our bank accounts. Or justified not tithing this week, ‘cause we were taking our friends out to dinner. Our Silent Partner seemed to be just fine with substituting dinner for tithing. Didn’t say a word….

See, that is the best part of a Silent Partner. When you want to say something bad, or blame, or offend—they are there for you. But when you do not want them impinging on your lifestyle—they conveniently fade into the distant background where they belong.

1 comment:

  1. Very well written. And true. Over a year ago, I was a lifegroup leader for Christian women. We met once per week to discuss things and ultimately become better people. At least that was my goal. After one year, I quit. I did not agree with this "silent partner" thing and I could not accept the "Christian" hypocrisy that was present at every meeting. It was a great experience for me, and made me realize that I do not want to be labelled Christian. This would only limit my ability to grow as a loving human being. I am not religious, I am spiritual. And I thank God for that.