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The God Squad: A replacement for Tommy

Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

My best friend and partner in the God Squad died on Feb. 16, 2016 and every second of every minute since then I have thought of him and loved him and missed him.

During the early years after his death the idea of replacing Tommy with a new God Squad partner seemed to me like a betrayal, even though he was gone. I felt very much like the people I counsel who have lost a spouse and refuse to consider dating again. I know this is irrational, but such feelings of love mingle with feelings of grief and lead us to strange places in our spiritual journey.

Then recently I received this email from a dear reader — well, I think it was from a reader, but it might have been from Tommy:

Dear Rabbi Gellman, you often refer to Monsignor Tom Hartman in your column, the God Squad. Although our paper did not carry the God Squad while he was alive, he must have been a wonderful, fine human being. Since his untimely death, the God Squad has been a squad of one. I question why you don't recruit an imam or a puja (preferably both) to be members of the God Squad? The Muslims certainly believe there is only one God. It seems the Hindus, although some may have numerous lesser gods, all seem to believe there is one major, infinite God. I know that adding another member would probably double the time it takes to prepare the column. Two new members would probably quadruple preparation time. Three new members (perhaps a Buddhist priest) would probably take nine times more preparation time. I understand any reluctance to increase your workload. – Your Baptist admirer, J.

A: The original reason for having just the two of us was actually technical. We were the religion guys on “Good Morning America” and “Imus in the Morning.” With two people you could have a dialogue, but with three or more somebody was always cut out and had to sit like a bump on a log. Now that is not so much a concern. We could have several contributors to the God Squad as you suggest, J. However, I do lean toward beginning this experiment with just one person and perhaps adding others down the road.

In addition to answering the questions that come in on godsquadquestions@aol.com, they could contribute not just new questions but also their own new answers.

Well, world, I am ready. I need a new best friend, writing partner, spiritual adviser, golf buddy (optional), and lover of the inherited wisdom of the world’s faiths. They can be a man or a woman, young or old, gay or straight. I don’t care. All I want is a partner who loves God and who wants to make God’s words real in our wounded world. I think I would do best with somebody who is absolutely not like me (old, male, Jewish, decrepit).

I will need this new partner to help me answer your wonderful questions and to work with me on producing our podcast, “The God Squad Podcast with Rabbi Marc Gellman.” Mainly, I need a fresh pair of eyes and a loving soul.

I live in Boca Raton, Florida, now but the new guy or gal can live anywhere. I don’t make much writing this column but whatever I make I will gladly split 50/50 with the new God Squad member, just like I did with Tommy.

 

Here is the twist. I am going to let you, my dear readers, help me with the selection of a new member or members of the God Squad. Here goes…

If you are interested in replacing Father Tom on the God Squad, please write me a brief email telling me why. Tell me a little about yourself, and then briefly answer this question, “If somebody wrote into the God Squad column and said that organized religion is the source of most of the problems in the world, how would you respond?”

Then I will publish the best responses and my readers will write in and vote for one or another applicant. All this may not turn up anybody, but it will be good for me to move on beyond Tommy but always with his smile lighting my path.

Send your applications to godsquadquestions@aol.com.

Here we go…

(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at godsquadquestion@aol.com. Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including “Religion for Dummies,” co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman. Also, the new God Squad podcast is now available.)

©2023 The God Squad. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


(c) 2023 THE GOD SQUAD DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.

 

 

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