the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

God is An Absentee Landlord

God is an absentee landlord and we are the tenants.

He created the world in six days, and then, on the seventh, he moved to a retirement community in Boca Raton, letting us fend for ourselves.

We are bad tenants. Without God nearby, we turned our Garden into a miserable dump.

“Where are you, God?” we cry. “Why have you forsaken us? Why do you leave us with death, illness, and decay? Why must we stand alone with so little guidance?”

God will not answer. He is too busy playing canasta with his friends.

But I have heard from God.

Oh, nothing dramatic like a Burning Bush or a Technicolor Dream.

God left us a Post-it Note on the front door.

Dear People,

You are not alone. But go look at the contract you signed. You need to take care of your shit yourselves. Grow some balls. I know you are weak. But I already gave you the three tools that will get you through every emergency.

I gave you rain. This will wash away the death and despair.

I gave you sun. This will give enable you to see.

And I gave you love. Which will make life worthwhile.

If any of you would rather trade in one of these tools for a new dishwasher instead, please leave a message at the rental office.

Now leave me the alone.


cc: prophets and angels.



  1. Erykah

    stewardship. freewill. love. He is with us always. Great post & photos Neil

  2. Megan

    Loved this. Is that you naked by the curtains?

  3. karengreeners

    I wouldn’t mind playing canasta with God.

  4. Irish Gumbo

    Great photos, great post. This should be turned a song.

    Earlier this year I took a photo from the exact same spot across from St. Patrick’s. Eerie…

    • Neil

      Only three ways to really shoot it.

  5. Marinka

    I love your photos.

  6. Karli

    Thank you.

  7. Casey

    Can I trade God in for the dishwasher? He doesn’t seem to be very helpful.

    • Neil

      I was hoping someone would make that joke!

  8. The Honourable Husband

    If there is a Creator, it seems reasonable to believe He’s non-interventionist. But your story seems to tell us that he’s made moral judgements.

    What if the Creator is not just non-interventionist, but amoral? I think this as likely as the Creator your write of here, Neil.

    How would the story change? Would it?

    • Neil

      Interesting. Even though I don’t see myself as religious, I did spend many years in Hebrew school, and I suppose I do still see God in terms of morality, which is a very Jewish thing. I’ve explored the ideas of eastern religion, and find them very interesting, but still quite foreign to me.

  9. Mitchell

    Wonderful. All the way around.

  10. V-Grrrl @ Compost Studios

    This post reminds of those signs in stores: “You break it, you buy it.”

    I’m a landlord myself, so I will say this: LOVE this place that we share. ENJOY this home I built but you live in. CARE for it as if it were your own and understand that that means work. Fill this house with good memories and absorb the good times I left behind there.

  11. Twenty Four At Heart

    Did you just show me your ass?

    • Neil

      No. Photoshop.

  12. MissingMolly

    I don’t believe in God, and it hardly ever rains here. It’s like living in the bowels of Hell, but less humid. Yet – I see actual clouds in the sky today, so maybe there is a God after all.

    Also, I can’t grow balls no matter how hard I try. And if I DID suddenly develop them, it isn’t likely that I’d have more resilience to life’s challenges, but it IS likely that I’d sit around and scratch them a lot.

    Love your stories and photos.

  13. alejna

    Nicely done, Neil. I like the way you wove the photos and the text together. (I often see stories in your photos.)

  14. Sara Foley

    I love this, just love it 🙂 There’s a lot to be said for rain, sun and love…although I personally believe that we have a little more guidance than that if we shut up and listen:)

  15. Vikki

    Reminds me of the song God Is a Real Estate Developer by Michelle Shocked. Beautiful use of your pics and I love the cc: at the end.

  16. Nance

    What kind of a deal can I make on snow? Keep in mind that I already have a dishwasher, but I can definitely do without the snow.

  17. Jamie@SouthMainMuse

    The absentee creator is an interesting take — but I rather think he is one who — rather than moved away — gave his creation free will.

    Free will imbedded into a prideful, self-centered heart isn’t very pretty. But every now and then we listen to him. He who has never left but let us out to play by ourselves. And we rise above ourselves.

    That is when we are truly beautiful.

  18. Amy

    Is that you, standing there buck nekkid?

  19. Oisin

  20. Kevin

    Not to nitpick, but I’m pretty sure God would be hanging out in San Diego before he’d be in Florida. The humidity down there is a killer.

  21. Holly

    Love that you hit my hometown. We used to go to Callaway every year and stay in a cabin. Maybe there were actually good years in my parent’s marriage, I don’t recall that there were, but all my memories of Callaway are special. Also loved your podcast with Faiqa this week. You’re on a roll.

  22. Jana A (@jana0926)

    I guess I missed this post… it’s beautiful. The photos. The words. Your bravery to stand naked in front of a window and post it on the internet.

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