“My Adventures with God” by Stephen Tobolowky— Love, Catastrophe and Triumph

Tobolowsky, Stephen. “My Adventures with God”, Simon and Schuster, 2017.

Love, Catastrophe and Triumph

Amos Lassen

God is the greatest mystery we have today and so many of us have a hard time dealing with the concept of a supreme being that we know so little about and who controls our every move and utterance. Character actor shares that very problem with us and he also shares how he forged a relationship with his God. I used to think that it would be easy to be an atheist since by not believing, I can push aside the concept of belief. I now see that it is, as Stephen Tobolowsky says, more difficult to believe in nothing than it is to believe in something and whether we are ready to admit it or not, we all do believe in something. It is easy to say that I believe that I will have lunch at noon instead of I do not know if I will have lunch at all. The idea that I have set a time, allows me to believe that it will happen rather than leave the option open.

The fact that there is a greater power somewhere out there gives us a small sense of certainty and we regard that as invisible and unexplainable using faith to more or less define it.

Tobolowsky’s “My Adventures with God” is a collection of short stories that explore the idea that most people’s lives seem to fit into what we read in the Hebrew Bible. We all have our own myths including one about the creation and we all have stories about when we were children and waged battles that we either won or lost. These are the genesis of lives that lead us to our own exodus in which, like the children of Israel wandering in the desert, find our fears and our hopes for the future. We eventually find our sense of freedom thus allowing us to say who we are. We have our Leviticus moments during which we are able to reconcile who we thought we would become with who we indeed did become. Our book of Numbers leads us to consider mortality as we lose family and friends and then as in the book of Deuteronomy, we repeat the stories we have lived through. I love the way Tobolowsky has taken the Bible and made it significant to our lives.

Tobolowsky’s stories are about a boy growing up in the wilds of Texas, finding and losing love, losing and finding himself and they are told through looking at Torah and Talmud that are combined mixed with insights from science as seen through a child’s eyes. We not only learn about the life of one of Tobolowsky as an actor, he also gives us a structure to evaluate our own lives and relationship with God. His true stories look at how we and our lives are shaped by belief and they are funny and moving and very relatable.

 

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