Letting Go to Hold On

A few days ago I was perusing the youth books at Target for a birthday gift.  I picked one up and and was thumbing through it when I found a tract inside the book.  The tract was a “friendly” reminder that, without Jesus, we are headed for eternal fire without a single drink of water.  Awww, it gives me the warm fuzzies.

It occurred to me, as it has many times, that we sometimes have a very unhealthy view of God.  We have created a God that is angry and vengeful that would just as soon send us to hell as to look at us.  Most of this is based on how we interpret the Bible.  We read it as if it were a transcribed account of God’s dictation.  I think it’s helpful to remember that the Bible was written by humans about God, not the other way around.  This is not to say that I don’t think that the Bible is inspired.  Just read some of the Psalms or other parts of the Bible and one can readily see where God has touched humans and inspired us to things that we could not have possibly conceived on our own.

So, what am I saying?  I am proposing that we learn from our Jewish antecedents and start wrestling with God again.  Jacob was blessed for wrestling with God.  Abraham bargained with God.  Moses called God out when God wanted to wipe out the Israelites.  What about us?  Christianity has taken the God of the Israelites and made God out to be a vengeful megalomaniac who is unconcerned with the welfare of the created order and those who struggle within it.  God conveniently only exists for some when needed to keep another in line as seen in the tract I mentioned.  How sad is this?

We have created a box for our angry God and placed this deity inside and put a pretty bow on it never to be let out.  What if we talked back to God and wrestled with our Creator to find out who this deity really is.  What if we quit relying on how others thousands of years ago have described God and actually started experiencing God.  Leonard Bernstein has some wonderful lyrics in his Third Symphony showing what such a spoken struggle might look like.  What’s the worst that can happen?  Is God going to get angry with us?  I don’t think so.  That would be hypocritical.  Instead, I would opine that it is in the struggling and wrestling with God that we really get to know and experience God.

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