Theology of procrastination

You're distracting God from Something Very Important, and the Deadline is coming


You haven’t subscribed to this email list, so it’s a little fucked up that you’re on it. But you have, probably, subscribed to a Russian newsletter I started and then immediately abandoned last year; or you’ve given me money on Patreon; or you’re one of the four people that I know personally whose addresses I added by hand.

Those are the reasons I thought you might like to receive this email; if I was mistaken, please accept my apology and hit “Unsubscribe” at the bottom of the page. (I’m assuming there’s a button like that.)

What happened is I was looking into this newsletter platform (Substack) for work, and then I created an account just to see how it looks from the inside, and now here we are: I am not doing work anymore.

I’m pitching you a religion about a God who’s not doing his work.

There’s a suspicion that persists throughout history and pops up in various traditions all over the world—that our reality is somehow not where it’s at. It’s an illusion, a jail, a work of art, a model or simulation—something reasonably captivating, but still different from the Real Thing. And the Real Thing is something we can’t perceive directly, but sort of miss, sense a lack of.

My proposal is a variation on this theme, which one of you—someone, I’m thinking, with contacts in Silicon Valley—could, I am sure, monetize.

What if our world is a product—a process—of Divine Procrastination?

Which is to say, God has a serious task he knows he has to attend to, but it is so daunting, intimidating, difficult to face, that he uses us, our pain and pleasures and personalities, to try to avoid it.

He probably doesn’t quite know what it is that makes him look away. He might have been distracted for so long he can’t remember what it was that he was supposed to be doing. Sometimes you feel your life’s lacking meaning— this is God realizing you’re not what he was planning to do.

There’s an apocalyptical angle: sooner or later, via a deadline or personal discipline, the real work will have to begin, which will mean an end to us as distractions.

And there’s a doctrine of salvation: to survive the mind-wandering phase of today, one needs to make their life an idea that will make its way into the Project.

You know how sometimes a thought just pops into your head while you’re in the shower, or taking a walk, or falling asleep, or watching a movie? Some of these are random and easily forgotten, but some grasp your attention and find ways to connect to other things in your life, be they work or relationships or creative endeavors; they survive the state of consciousness they emerged in and have a life outside.

Be that idea. God is distracted by you, for a time. Be something that will continue to matter when he regains control.

The challenge, of course, is we can’t, almost by definition, know what that Work Project is. What is that thing that God is looking away from?

I suppose this is where you want to start charging money or demanding free labor from your converts. Is this how all religions operate, do you think?

You take the emptiness, the frightening unanswered question at the heart of your system, and turn it into a promise. Do you want to become relevant in God’s eyes? To turn your life from a shameful, soul-sucking distraction into a spontaneous insight the Universe has been hoping for?

Something like this could go on the brochure or the online landing page for this cult, which I’m not going to start. (So you’re free to.)

I’m just seeing if starting an email list is something I can accomplish.

OK, I’m clicking on “Publish & Send Email”. Let’s see what that does.