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God is Not My Employer: My Journey in Non–AA Spirituality

“We had a new Employer. Being all powerful, He provided what we needed, if we kept close to Him and performed His work well.”

That’s from the Big Book. As a union organizer, it never rubbed me well to think of God as the boss. I grew up in a very liberal, social justice oriented church; God, to me, is a being I can’t understand, but one who loves me unconditionally. He doesn’t give me orders or sign my paychecks.

Here’s how I came to terms with a different kind of spirituality.

Finding True Meaning

When I got out of rehab, I felt this urgent need to prove that I was a good person. I did my meetings. I did service. I baked so many cookies for my AA meetings that there wasn’t a hungry AA attendee in town.

I was trying to prove that I deserved to live. I cooked dinners at the homeless shelter and petted stray cats. I was there, with the service.

Lately, however, my God and I have another conversation. “God of the whirlwind. God who was with me on the floor. God who has never left me for a moment.” God isn’t my employer. These days, I find God is just my friend. We walk together.

I was walking with God just yesterday. We were walking in a park near me. I brought up the subject and God turned to face me. I saw a million colors in God’s eyes. God cried with me – for all the pain of creation. There’s no denying the suffering out there, and that we all feel it.

A Glimpse of the Divine

My God isn’t a man in the sky with a beard. My God created some bad stuff. My God thinks things are kinda cool that way. Who else would have created a world where the mice suffer because my cat gets joy from eating them?

“You can’t understand my creation,” God said to me as we walked in the park. And gradually, finally, I started to see…

I can’t understand God’s creation. It isn’t the kind of game where you pick the right numbers and you’re rich. My God’s creation is way more complicated. But sometimes, when we walk in the park together, I get a glimpse.

My God’s creation isn’t fair. You don’t get points for being right. You don’t get a pass on pain because you go to meetings or bake cookies.

My God’s creation simply is. And right there, in the whirlwind, God is with us.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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