Tuesday, 28 February, 1995
Bivalia:[a] Well, hallo, Michael. How are you?
Michael: All right, I guess, thank you.
Bivalia: You're a little tardy in reporting to me, aren't you?
Michael: Well, I haven't done this for a few months, if that's what you
mean. Sorry, but I've been having periods of disillusionment with everything
spiritual; and I've also had several bouts of depression, just in case you
Bivalia: Oh, I've noticed, all right. I wasn't rebuking you, simply making
an observation, perhaps just being a little facetious. You're not under any
obligation to meet any given quota of channelling.
Michael: No. But doing this sort of stuff just hasn't seemed real. It
just seemed a silly let's-pretend game; and of course, while I feel like that,
I'm not motivated to do anything about it. In fact, I think I still do feel
that way. But over the last few weeks, something has gradually crystallized
in my mind that I thought I could discuss with you, so I suppose the idea of
channelling you seemed just a smidgen more real, anyway.
Bivalia: Well, be my guest, whatever it is you want to share with me. I'm
Michael: Well, in fact, I have something else to attend to fairly soon.
I'm not attempting to do anything more than warm up just now, after the long
silence. After I've attended to other matters, I'll come back, maybe in an
hour, and see if I can get onto it then. It's probably about 11.20 p.m. now,
so I'll probably come back a bit after midnight, for which I'll probably start
a new document with its own date heading.
Bivalia: As you wish, my friend. You can be completely at ease with me,
doing things however you like.
Michael: I think I'm already running down a bit. But I suppose I could
tell you that I recently attended a series of talks by Rabbi Harold Kushner
from America, who visited Melbourne recently. He gave three talks at Temple
Beth Israel, a Liberal Jewish synagogue down near St. Kilda, on Thursday
night, and Sunday morning and night.
Bivalia: Yes. What prompted you to attend these talks?
Michael: Well, I read Rabbi Kushner's book When Bad Things Happen to
Good People some years ago, which is about the whole theological problem
of suffering and pain, and how it might be compatible with a loving,
compassionate God (if it is compatible, that is).
I'm not sure if I agree with everything the Rabbi said, but the overall
view of the book gave me much to think about, and I felt a kinship with much
of what he said. Most important of all, the book echoed many thoughts on God
and suffering I had had over the years which seemed totally obvious to me, but
which no-one else ever expressed; and what's more, if I
expressed those thought to other people, they usually flatly disagreed and
rejected what I said, because of theological or doctrinal reasons, as if they
took it for granted that doctrine was more important than the awful reality of
human suffering. This is a view I've always found offensive, and it depicts a
kind of God I don't like. And what I like about Harold Kushner is he feels
exactly the same. He described this view as offensive also.
He thinks God is far too loving to ever will suffering, or even condone
it; but he suggests that this world is subject to laws of physics, chemistry,
et cetera, which are morally blind, and even God can't override them. But
instead, he suffers with us in a sense, is on our side when pain afflicts us,
and will strengthen us if we ask him to.
And of course elementary logic demands that as long as suffering exists,
you can't believe God to be both all-powerful and all-loving at the same
time. You have to sacrifice one of these attributes to make the other one
possible. Rabbi Kushner prefers to sacrifice the absoluteness of God's power,
rather than compromise his love and compassion. And although even this
disturbs me a bit, I think I agree with him that it's the best solution that
we can think of so far.
Bivalia: I think I would agree with you there.
Michael: Mind you, God could still be awesomely powerful; I'm not (nor is
Rabbi Kushner) proposing a wimpish, weak God. But it could be that his power
is somewhat short of absolute; and, unfortunately, it could be that one thing
God can't do is override the laws of nature, and perhaps he can't override
human will directly and immediately; and those two factors probably account
for most, if not all, of the suffering which bedevils this world.
Bivalia: I think you're very probably right on that.
Michael: I don't know why I'm telling you all this, actually. I think
I'm already winding down, somehow.
Bivalia: Well, never mind. This is something to warm up on, at least.
Michael: I'm afraid I seem to have lost the thread of this channelling
business. I can't promise to ever get back properly.
Bivalia: Well, my friend, you know, don't you, that your eternal destiny
doesn't hang on your being able to meet a channelling quota.
Michael: Yes, I know. But it's a bad sign when I lose the ability to do
something I seemed to do so well before. And in fact, my psychological and
emotional states have been very bad recently.
Bivalia: Well, we can talk about that, if you like.
Michael: Well, I might come back. I do want to attend to something soon,
and I think my mind is already starting to wander onto that. Perhaps a
preliminary warm-up session wasn't such a good idea after all.
Bivalia: It does no harm. You aren't chained to your computer, you know.
You can leave any moment you wish.
Michael: I like to keep to the proprieties of politeness in conversation,
and not go abruptly without so much as a farewell.
Bivalia: I know, my friend. I appreciate your consideration; but you are
under no obligation to do things any set way.
Michael: I know; it's my peccadillo, not yours. But I think I want to
leave off for a little while, and I'll be back. And we might then get onto
the main thing, but I can't guarantee it. If it won't come naturally, I don't
want to try to force it.
Bivalia: I appreciate that; nor do I want you to force it either. But how
about we try shortly, when you're ready, without other tasks hanging over us?
Michael: Thank you, Bivalia. I sometimes think you're a nicer sort of
person than I am. You're always very understanding, tolerant and
accommodating to all my eccentricities. I don't think I'm as good a person as
Bivalia: That is but an illusion, beloved. You and I are one and the
same. One of the purposes of this channelling is simply to help you realize that.
Michael: Perhaps. Anyway, I'll be back soon.
Bivalia: Yes. Good-bye until then. This little bit isn't as bad as you
may think for a mere half-hour's fill-in. Things aren't as bad as you paint
them, my friend. You may be surprised how soon you'll be able to produce 20
pages in a single day, full of insights like you've done before. Anyway, you can
break off now, if you like, and I'll see you soon.
Michael: Yes, Bivalia. I'll see you soon.