An Interview with God

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By Margaret Grant.

IT was an inspiration. I am sure any fair-minded person would call it so. Of course the thing has been done before: Buddha did it, and Jesus and Mahomet and Dowie and Moses and—oh! several persons at one time and another; but for the most part they had selfish ends to promote. It was not so with me. I had some serious questions of general public interest to ask of the Almighty one. It is true that I offered the manuscript to various magazines, but that was not for the money I would get from it. I may say that I would have had no trouble in disposing of it, only that I refused to submit to the condition which all of the magazines attached to acceptance, which was that I should have the proofs revised by Mr. Roosevelt. My invariable answer was, No. I am prepared to be made a member of the Liars' Club, but I will not run the risk of having my manuscript revised by a rival of the personage interviewed. It would not be fair to either of us. Besides, consider the confusion that would result; the reader couldn't tell from either matter or manner which were the words of the one and which of the other.

I am not what you would call a strictly orthodox religious person, myself, but my friend, Sarah Warner, is. She knows to a nicety what others ought to do, she is very severe in her judgments, she always refers to Sunday as the Sabbath, and her infallible rule of wrong conduct is doing what she wouldn't do. You can understand then why I went to her for help.

"Sarah," I said, sitting down near her in the room where she was sewing, "I want to have a talk with God, and I don't know just how to go about it. You know I haven't been on the same terms with him that you have, but I do want to talk to him."

"Margaret," said she, rolling her eyes upward as she finished her stitch, "you make me very happy. Go to your closet and there commune."

"Oh! my closet! But, Sarah, my closet is so small and stuffy that for a long interview I don't think I could stand it. May I use yours ?"

"Certainly, if you wish," she answered, staring at me a little.

"And you do think a closet is the place ?" I asked.

"It is always recommended," she answered with a superior smile. "It was there I found Him."

She said it with the air of having cornered Him there. But that was like Sarah; she always spoke of God as my God, for all the world as if he were personal to her. She spoke of Henry in the same way: my husband. It was always a surprise to me that she consented to use the masculine pronoun in connection with her deity. Sarah is what is known as a strong character. Her personal convictions are to her general truths.

Of course I said nothing like this to her, but went into her closet, first putting my hat on, naturally enough, having read so much in the papers about the impropriety of going where God was with a hat off; though I confess I had no notion of why God should be offended with a woman's bare head and not with a man's. But if I run on like this I shall never come to the interview. As it is I shall have to condense it, for, as the editor says, there is only so much space to fill.

"Almighty God!" I began, remembering very well the invocatory form of address, "I wish a few words with you about some important matters, and would like you to come here. If you please, I don't care for the burningbush idea, or for the still, small voice."

"All right, Margaret! I'm here," came the answer with a suddenness that I will admit brought my heart into my mouth; "but I want to say that the still, small voice is the peculiar property of Conscience, though what's the use of a voice that is still all the time, I don't know. As for the burning bush, either Moses saw things red that morning, or it was a pure fabrication. Now, what is it you want to know ? Hurry, please, for there's going to be a massacre in my name over in Russia somewhere, and I want to be there."

"Why, I thought you were everywhere at once," I cried.

"Did you ? Well, go on thinking so; it may scare you into doing what your ruling class wishes. What do you want to know ? Hurry, please!"

"You'll get me all flustered if you hurry me," I remonstrated. "Let me see! I'd like to know who's right in that nature writer controversy, Long or Roosevelt?"

"What do you mean by putting Long before Roosevelt ? Don't do it again. I won't meddle in that affair, won't give an opinion. It wouldn't be according to etiquette for me to criticise Theodore. Anything else ?"

This wasn't the leisurely interview I had counted on, and I was at my wits' end to know what to say; so I fired off my questions haphazard.

"Did you really give those coal mines to Mr. Baer?"

"Don't you know the old adage? God helps him who helps himself. Of course we're in partnership. The rich need me as much as I need them."

"But it's the poor who support the churches," I objected.

"They support the rich, too, don't they? Go on! What else?"

"What is the sex of the angels?"

"Don't you know there is no marrying or giving in marriage in Heaven?"

"Yes, but I thought that might mean free love."

"Free love? Not if I can help it. Why, the churches would go to pieces in a minute if they didn't have the marriage superstition so firmly fixed in people's minds. You can say for me that angels are neuter."

"I don't want to seem to argue the matter," I said humbly, "but it seems to me that that statement doesn't quite fit with the story about the Holy Ghost and Joseph's wife. You know "

"There! there! that will do! you've said enough! Let me tell you that ever since that episode the Holy Ghost has lost standing in Heaven. The thing was badly managed, or it would never have got out. Something else, please! And hurry!"

"I'd like to know something about Mr. Comstock. Is he doing your work the way you want it done?"

"To be frank with you, I don't know what to say. I can see that the Devil helps the man all he can, but on the other hand the priests tell me that they must keep folks in ignorance or their whole scheme will go to pieces. I wash my hands of it. What next ?"

"Who will be our next President?"

"That's out of my department. Ask Theodore. He sometimes encroaches on my territory, but I'll play fair. No, it's no use to ask any more questions; see, it is three o'clock, and allowing for difference in time, that massacre is due, and I ought to be there. Sorry, but I must go."

And I was alone.

  • Margaret Grant, “An Interview with God,” Mother Earth 2, no. 7 (September 1907): 284-287.