According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, August 28, 2015

The God Who Is Unlike Us, Our Thoughts, or the Images We Make of Him




Though I would've worded today's Huff Post blog article (below) a little differently, still the point of it is the kind of God Calvinism gets itself into with its absolute power and control themes of its ruling God. 

Non-Calvinistic Christians reject this kind of God by asking WWJD? (What Would Jesus Do?) as a NT emphasis of God as seen through Jesus. It's not that we have two Gods in the Bible - one OT and the other NT or, a dipolar God (not a bi-polar God) - but that we have constructed the wrong view of God altogether through our hermeneutics and doctrines making of Him what He is not.

I have written about this a lot at www.Relevancy22.blogspot.com over the years to help show what the upsides are when this incorrect graven image of God is finally released from all its "power" images. and metaphors.

This kind of imagery is the idol in our speech, our society, our faith, that is too often used indiscriminately in our churches and society. And it is this kind of imagery which must be crucified on the altar of human suffering lest it continues human suffering in yet another form of itself. A militant, crusading form of religious conquest, terror, and oppression as evidence through the ages of the church.

In other words, "we have a Sovereign God who is powerful but not a powerful God who is Sovereign." Yes, a poor illustration, I know, but the kind of illustration that is trying to point out that our words describing God as powerful can lead to other words that fill dogmas with hate, discrimination, inhumility, and judgmentalism upon everything-and-everyone unlike ourselves.

And if this kind of doctrinal thinking is not distinguished it can then lead to more bad theology and unrighteous acts committed by a church which should rather be ear marked with love, grace, mercy, peace, and servitude.

More than that, we have a Sovereign God who is first and foremost loving and forgiving. Who exalts weakness over power. Whose death was His greatest example of power and sovereignty used aright.

His resurrection is His greatest testimony as to His choice of serving and not controlling creation; loving and not enforcing His holy will; dying and not abandoning His decrees of who He really is.

The Cross of Jesus' atonement is the ultimate display of God's choice to allow sin its results while putting it to his own death by submitting Himself to humanity's evil such that in this act of divine submission the world has a powerful illustration of atonement. An atonement ungained by sword or by a harsh divine will.

The Cross is the kind of curiosity we don't understand. Don't like. And refuse to follow. But it is the kind of cross-faith that will serve others over self-wants, lusts for power, and cravings for a neat-and-tidy theology asking for God to be in control of everything.

Its the kind of weak theology that displays God as unlike any God we would naturally describe, or even, ascribe too. To worship a submitting God looking to serve humanity with His last breath by yielding to its evil.

It is the kind of thing that is a paradox, a mystery, an enigma which we have trouble putting into words-and-actions in souls ruled by sin, and needs, and idols.

It is the kind of thing that makes God "God" and ever the more powerful for it; the more omnipotent for it. A God who rules in wisdom by leading out with His greatest attribute to which all other divine attributes must follow. That of love, gracy, and mercy.

R.E. Slater
August 28, 2015

* * * * * * * * * *


Josh Duggar speaking


Divorcing Josh Duggar's Monster God
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/zach-j-hoag/divorcing-josh-duggars-monster-god_b_8037704.html

by Zach J. Hoag
August 26, 2015

In the recent Ashley Madison hack, Josh Duggar was outed as having a paid account for seeking adulterous affairs.

After the leak, he admitted to cheating on his wife, and to porn addiction.

This, of course, came on the heels of the recent horrific revelations that he molested his sisters as a teen.

And, perhaps not surprisingly, reports are now surfacing that Anna Duggar, Josh's wife, will not consider divorcing him as an option. In fact, she may even be accepting some of the blame for his recent behavior. Both are said to be turning to their faith and praying together as the solution to these issues.

Josh's statement(s) similarly used spiritualized language to communicate his wrongdoing, putting it in categories of sin, reproach, Jesus, forgiveness, prayer, etc.

Michelle and Jim Bob are also praying and trusting in God.But I have to ask - what kind of God are the Duggars praying to and trusting in?

///

It is well known by now that the Duggar family, conservative quiverfull-type Christians slash reality TV stars, are followers of Bill Gothard and the Institute in Basic Life Principles. It's also well known that Gothard has recently been outed for alleged sexual misbehavior of his own -- in his case, years of allegedly grooming young women (some underage) in order to sexually harass and assault them. Gothard is unmarried and is yet viewed by his followers as the foremost guru on chaste courtship before marriage, male headship within marriage, and unhindered childbearing for the duration of marriage.

Hence those 19 Kids and Counting.

The Duggars are a household name by and large because of their adherence to Gothard's teachings; and they are caught up in a hurricane of scandal for the very same reason.

So again, I ask, what kind of God are Gothard and the Duggars praying to - and promoting?

///

In situations like these, it is common for religious leaders caught in some offense to make it clear that their actions occurred despite their faith and belief, not because of it. Duggar has done the same, calling himself "the biggest hypocrite ever" and worrying for the reproach he has brought to Christ. And that seems reasonable, on the surface. We have all betrayed our values and ideals to some degree.

That's why the best response to the Josh Duggar situation (and any of the others caught in this hack, which is already claiming lives) is certainly not to thumb our moralistic noses and join the indulgent Internet shame parade.

Yet, it is not as simple as saying Josh Duggar (and the man Josh likely worshiped his entire life as a religious hero) simply acted in contradiction to his belief, in fits of passion or pits of addiction. In fact, I believe the root cause of Josh's behavior isunequivocally linked to his faith and belief. It's true that different-looking fruit may come from that same root, and Jim Bob's patriarchal sins are not identical to his son's; but Jim Bob prays to the same God who necessarily and with regularity molds men that molest, harass, abuse, and cheat.

In short, a Monster God.

This Monster God promoted by both Gothard and the Duggars is a God for whom absolute power is the ultimate good - power that is uniquely delegated to men, to be especially wielded over women. In a manner similar to common Calvinistic teachings, Gothard's God is one that exercises power with no accountability (not even to his own character or nature) and may just as soon hate, torture, and murder as love and forgive. His unpredictable whim is divine law. In fact, this God's "forgiveness" is less about love and more about submission to his power. To submit without any concern for oneself is to be forgiven. Likewise, forgiving others (like cheaters or abusers or molesters) while blaming oneself is the logical requirement of this "forgiving" God.

Josh Duggar's God is one that has lifted a man, Duggar, above women to represent his power (goodness). The superficial moral restraint of courtship merely encodes this power from the start; Jim Bob controls the courtship just as Josh controls Anna. She will exist to submit to Josh, and that is her ultimate good. Real morality matters little.

The public apology with its language of repentance, then, is a charade, a bit of well-meaning theater, a play act, because the natural consequences for actions in the real world do not apply here. Sure, there is scandal and job loss (and the Duggars have often lamented "the media" for this). But with Josh Duggar, like Bill Gothard, everything is forgivable because these men embody the absolute power of God, the ultimate good.

And for Anna, divorce is unforgivable because she must embody absolute submission as the ultimate good.

Josh Duggar and Bill Gothard's Monster God makes men into monsters as they live out the natural implications of their prayerful belief in him.

///

In response to this unfolding scandal, I submit to you that joining the shame parade is an unhelpful response that misses an important opportunity.

The opportunity for the church, for followers of Jesus, for all of us, is to divorce this Monster God once and for all.

An unaccountable God whose unpredictable whim is the omnipotent law and the ultimate good that we worship, pray to, and promote should be promptly served divorce papers, because our freedom and true goodness is to be found beyond the bonds of that unholy marriage.

And in his place, let us join ourselves again to the One True God who is completely accountable to his own character, which is really and truly good, defined by the very character of Jesus and the fruit of Jesus's Spirit.

Let us put away the Monster God who harms, molests, and enslaves with his power (even the ones to whom his power is granted), and marry again the God who looks like Jesus, whose law is always love and whose gospel is always peace.

And let's pray to that God and trust that God for real deliverance and liberation for Anna Duggar and the whole Duggar family.


* * * * * * * * * *













No comments:

Post a Comment