In David B. Myers’ book, Did God Die on The Way to Houston? A Queer Tale, the reader is asked to “keep an open mind” when confronted with the most unorthodox, unbelievable articulations about God and his ability or lack thereof to address and subdue the suffering of mankind on earth.
Articulations made by a woman of color. A lesbian with one leg named Shekhinah claims not that she is God, but that she once was.
When Professor James Friedman, executive director for The Center for Interfaith Action and Dialogue, receives an unexpected email from Shekhinah wanting to meet with him at a local Starbucks to discuss her decision to terminate her existence as God and to become a mortal being, the professor has no idea what to make of Shekhinah or of her absurd claims.
However, as a scholar of Judaism, he is compelled to meet with her, because he recognizes the name Shekhinah as a Hebrew, post-biblical name used for the imminent dimension of God conceived as a female. And so, he accepts the invitation. What ensues is a series of theological dialogues which leaves the reader to grapple with the extraordinary possibility that Shekhinah may have actually once been almighty God but, according to her, not the all-knowing omnipotent God that most of us think of.
To the contrary, according to her, she was a God who had no foreknowledge of the suffering mankind would unleash upon itself once endowed with its own free will. Or that God himself would be powerless to stop it. She explained that as God she had suffered intensely, feeling every pain, every anguish of every living soul on earth and that it was constant and unbearable for God. She explained that “There could be no peace in Heaven if there was no peace on Earth.”
And so, God’s only recourse was to commit what might be deemed divine suicide, trading his life as an eternal deity for that of a disenfranchised mortal on earth. From this post as Shekhinah, she would have a limited time, as mortals do, to address and subdue as much human suffering as she could out of love and compassion for that which she had created.
I found the book to be unexpectedly engaging as Shekhinah’s discussions with the professor covered a myriad of topics addressing the plights of the human condition and offering theological, if not divine, solutions. Topics in the book range from homosexuality to the persecution of the Jews to Black Lives Matter, the Me Too movement and so much more — a great read for anyone who can keep an open mind!
Did God Die on His Way to Houston? A Queer Tale is available on Amazon.