Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary provides many an interesting read. I recommend her post on the ignorable God, which begins:
One of the things that bothered me most when I was first exploring religion was the fact that God is invisible. As I was reading up on Christianity, struggling with concepts I didn’t understand, I would occasionally think in exasperation, “You know, God could make this really easy and just appear to each one of us individually and settle all of this once and for all!” It seemed so much more efficient for God to do that rather than mess around with all this messy organized religion stuff.
I really don’t want to excerpt much more than that. It would spoil her nice narrative flow to give you parts, without the whole. I’d love for you just to go over there and read it for yourself. But here’s the last bit:
And why? Why not take my suggestion and slap me upside the head with a laser-light show at every Mass to command my attention when my mind has wandered to think about everything but him? I’m no theologian and don’t claim to have all the answers on that one, but I think that one part of it is this: as usual, it’s about love. One thing about love is that it must be a choice; if there’s coercion involved, it’s not real love. And in order to love someone — really, truly love them — you must first have the choice to ignore them.
I found that post, and it took me back to an earlier one – Asking God for a sign. In this post, Jennifer recalls the days leading up to her conversion; days in which she was trying to be open to the idea that God existed, but was unsure what to do next. She says she was becoming increasingly dejected about her inability to get anywhere, and she begged God for a sign. She walked out onto the balconey, and saw – a hundred miles away – a storm raging between two mountains, where lightning flashed to illuminate a cloud 60,000 feet tall. The rest of the sky was clear, and around her all was still. As she looked up eight meteors flashed across the sky, one after another, many of them with long tails.
“Well,” I smirked to myself, “be careful what you wish for.” I had asked for a sign, and this was about as “sign-ish” as it gets. What more did I want? Yet I wasn’t convinced. Even as my heart raced upon witnessing the grandeur before me I wrote it off as just a storm and an unexpected meteor shower. I refused to believe that there was anything more to this than a random cumulonimbus and some dust entering the earth’s atmosphere.I realized then that there was no sign that God could give me.
If this wouldn’t suffice, nothing would. I wasn’t open to it. Had I walked out on the balcony to see “HI JENNIFER, IT’S ME, GOD!” written across the sky I would have been impressed but ultimately written it off as a practical joke. If Jesus himself materialized to shake my hand and greet me I’d write it off as a hallucination. Because, in my mind, there was a natural explanation for everything, so therefore anything supernatural was impossible.
I arrogantly assumed that because I knew how something worked that God couldn’t be involved. I watched the storm and thought, “That’s not God, that’s just condensation!” And the tightness in my chest and tears welling up in my eyes? “That’s not my ‘soul’ yearning for anything, that’s just chemical reactions in my brain!”
This was another major turning point for me. I realized that night that I wasn’t going to see God if I was determined not to.