tao te ching
tao te ching

People often like to talk about the “problem of the God of the lost keys” or “the God of the Sparrows.”

That problem, simply put, is why can or did God help someone find lost keys or why was God mindful of a sparrow when God let someone else be raped or murdered or devastated. Why did God intervene to help someone find keys, but not intervene so they could escape starvation?

The question (a subset of something called Theodicy) is not isolated to Mormons or Christians or even Theists. But in the Tao of the Lost Keys it also finds an interesting way of looking at the question.

That is because the Tao or harmony of the way is often described in terms of harmony with the background fabric of the universe. (And yes, I’m simplifying concepts that were a bit more complex in my upper division philosophy class I took that covered the subject, but this part of it I believe is accurate).  Harmony results in results that do not mean intervention.

The Tao is the intuitive knowing of “life” that cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept but is known nonetheless through actual living experience of one’s everyday being.

Laozi in the Tao Te Ching explains that the Tao is not a ‘name’ for a ‘thing’ but the underlying natural order of the Universe whose ultimate essence is difficult to define.

File:Small keys.jpgAdopting the concept of finding harmony as the path to finding lost keys (or anything similar)  means that when someone relaxes and finds lost keys, or their mother in a crowded assembly or their wallet where it fell into the bushes, the experience is not so much the universe or God or some force reaching out and making a change, as it is the person opening up and finding what the universe had there all along.

In practice it is much like Joe Miller’s God of the Sparrows where God observes each Sparrow with love, even though God does not intervene. God’s mindfulness exists not in changing the world but in observing it and then bringing every part of creation, even the sparrows, home to him to be loved and healed in the end. To the extent we find or listen to the mind of God, that is not so much an intervention by God as it is our gaining a sensitivity to what reality truly is.

This way of looking at things, or approach is a different perspective from thinking of such results as an active force.  It is also a way of looking at life that is also one that also fits with the theology of there being both a [Light of Christ] and [the actions of the Holy Ghost] and that fits with the lived experience that sometimes people pray and find their missing keys.  One source of guidance or inspiration [the Light of Christ] is sensitivity to the background flow or grain or nature of the universe that lights everyone who lives. The other source [the Gift of the Holy Ghost] is intervention by the power behind the universe.

Those are my thoughts on why it may be that someone finds lost keys through prayer or meditation, yet that they do have a little miracle of sorts does not mean that God is either a vending machine or unfathomably unfair.

What do you think?


Images from Wikimedia Commons, definition adapted from Wikipedia’s Taoism entry.