dear god.

I’ve never seen anything at all like this before. Dear God is a non-denominational web-based prayer project – people email their personal prayers to whatever they deem their God to be (and a picture, if you’ve got something that represents your prayer visually) and the prayers are posted onto the site. Categorized in a multi-colour sidebar, prayers are searchable by topic: Belief, Confessions, Death, Faith, Family, Friendship, Hope, Humour, Joy, Love, Money, Sex, Work, and Stress.

Maybe it’s my own stereotype of religion on the web, but I can’t get over how good this site looks. At the risk of seeming like a design-trendster, it’s just so well put together that at first I had a hard time believing it was real. Conceived by the creator of The Coolhunter and designed by excellent UK shop Something Somewhere, the site is seamless, modern, and, even though I despise the word “trendy”, it’s just… so trendy. Usually we’re used to seeing stuff on the web this slick dedicated to expensive organic juices, and designer kicks, or electing Barack Obama. But God? Really…?

Just look at how sick this logo is…

There is such a hyper-modern balance of kistch and reality going on here. If you want to sign up for the e-newsletter, you’re invited to “Get on God’s Mailing List”. Am I the only one who thinks that sounds like a joke? Do I have a heart of stone and just can’t accept that something can be this in tune with what I normally like things to look like, yet still so out of synch with things I normally read about? Like “God”.

Yet the visual gloss of the site is weighed out by the truth in people’s words. With soul-bearing stories that remind me a whole lot of Frank Warren’s iconic PostSecrets, the prayers are honest and touching. The site is still new and so most are addressed to “Dear God”, but I did see a “Dear Allah” and a “Dear Universe” in there, so clearly they are open to anyone’s interpretations of who their prayers should be going to.

The prayers themselves range from “Truth Be Told Most Of Us Quit Listening To You A Long Time Ago” to “I’m So Sick Of No One Noticing That I Don’t Eat” to “All I Really Am Is A Kid Desperate For A Hug” to “Maybe The Only Truth We Can Really Understand Is Our Own”.

One thing is indisputably clear. People have things to get off their chests.

Like most blog posts, readers can leave comments for each prayer, literally giving you a direct line to support anyone whose story touches you. Most prayers have dozens of comments – complete strangers from who knows where in the world commiserating and telling you it will all be alright. There’s something undeniably powerful about that, no matter what your religious beliefs are.

In a way, it’s simple and brilliant. In another, I’m terrified that Starbucks or that guy that wrote “The Da Vinci Code” or Bill Gates is somehow secretly sponsoring it and doing data capture. Yet I can’t deny that I keep on reading more and more of it. I’ve spent an hour reading everything on this site now. I’ve been a little bewildered and one time I cried. I’m compelled to feel grateful that I don’t feel a need to write in a prayer right now, and maybe creating gratitude is part of the point. Or perhaps it’s just knowing that no one is alone: No matter who or where in the world you are, someone somewhere else will reach out to you through all the little zeroes and ones to say that they’ve heard you.

Comments

  1. i hope nothing on there is negative and purely God and his GOODNESS

  2. oh great. Another way for people to annoy Me.

    http://stuffgodhates.wordpress.com/

  3. wow… the concept (and design) of the site is really quite beautiful — it’s been a while since a website has made me cry. i think the most interesting part is the comments, ranging from proselytizing to rude to really comforting.

    “Usually we’re used to seeing stuff on the web this slick dedicated to expensive organic juices, and designer kicks, or electing Barack Obama. But God? Really…?”

    awesome. great post, thanks.

  4. What a beautiful post, thank you!

  5. Joh Blogs says:

    I am a new subscriber to your blog. I love Tori Amos as well and your earlier post about the comic brought me here. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. It reminds me of Post Secret too!

Trackbacks

  1. […] about God, or religion, or any of the more spiritual things that interest me.  And then I read this post, and I was caught again in that whirlwind, at least for a moment.  I am steady in my own faith at […]

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