Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Is God a JERK?

I had planned to walk into the Old City tonight, see the pilgrims coming to the Western Wall and stop and a store in the Jewish quarter to see if they had something Kathy had tried to get when the group from Ridge was here last November. But I didn’t make it. Instead I decided (or maybe I should say: God told me), that I needed to write. For two nights in a row, as I have sat down for dinner I have been embarrassed by Christians.

I have come to the conclusion that either God is an a**hole or many of us who claim to be Christians are. Why do I say that: the theme both nights was very much the same — If you are a Christian — you will be blessed by God, and if you don’t have things, then you are not doing what God wants you to do. And then how we need to save the Jews and Muslims.

Why are we Christians? Why are you? To get to heaven? To be blessed? Seriously, why? What motivates you? I don’t think we have a clue about the afterlife — how can we? Jesus almost never talks about an afterlife, instead he talks about a here life — the kingdom of God that should be growing inside us. And what does that kingdom look like? Well, listening to the table next to me tonight, or the gentleman who ate with me last night, it looks like a place paved with gold — just like the old hymns. Because God wants us to be children of the king and as the kings children do not live in poverty. What happened to "sell everything you own and follow me?" "Or clothe the naked, feed the hungry?"

Then of course they both launched into how the Muslims and Jews are all heathens (although the woman tonight kept saying how God would never break his covenant — I guess she meant with her, not with the Jews), and needed to be saved. Saved from what? Saved to what? America is one of the most violent nations in the world, with a higher level of social problems than almost anywhere else in the world — are we the model of what they should become? It made me sick, that we as Christians are so judgmental of everyone else in the world — that we believe everyone needs to become like us — or they will go to hell.

Here we are, in the land of the prince of peace, the one who came to bring hope and love to the least and the lost, the one who never judged – only loved, and yet I am filled with the voices of self-righteous angry people. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I believe in a God who is bigger than my little mind, a God who loves not just me, but the Jews and the Muslims and the Hindus and yes, even the non-believers. Because God is not an a**hole. God doesn’t play favors, God invites us all to come and know that love.

Maybe that is why I am here. To really see a God who cares. To see a God who reaches out and weeps that we are filled with bitterness, racism, greed and claim those things in God’s very name.

Thank you — for reminding me who you are — and who I am not!


Anonymous said...

I wonder if the dualistic heaven-or-hell approach to life has created some self-righteous and judgemental people. It seems like it's justification for hating or harming our enemies or separating the "good" from the "bad" because one's beliefs may be different. It sounds like toxic power! What ever happened to Jesus's message to love our enemies? What about loving those who think and behave in ways we find unacceptable? Doesn't grace make it possible for those who believe differently to respect and relate to one another? Maybe it's easier said that done but not impossible.
Maybe I am too naive!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi Steve!!

I agree with you whole-heartedly when you say as Christians we should be non-judgemental to other faiths and accept them in Christ's name and should not think we are self-righteous because we are Christians.

How coincidental - Jeff's sermon today was on how God is totally non-judgmental and gives is unconditional love. This is something we can truly love about God!!HE ACCEPTS US THE WAY WE ARE!!

See you in November!!

Have a safe trip home!!


Hi Steve!!

I agree with you whole-heartedly when you say as Christians we should be non-judgmental to other faiths and accept them in Christ's name and should not think we are self-righteous because we are Christians!

How coincidental - Jeff's sermon today was on how God is totally non-judgmental and gives us unconditional love! This is something we can truly love about God! HE ACCEPTS US THE WAY WE ARE!!

See you in November!!
Have a safe trip home!
Lots of spiritual love!!

Anonymous said...

A lot of food for thought and very powerful.
It tied this past week together so well along with Jeffs' sermon and even more our 2nd session of Disciple I.


Christina Writes 1 said...

Hi Steve,

Like you, I need to write. But this is something that I do a lot…it’s nothing new. Your question (Is God a Jerk?) is the core of what my Confession Project is about. If God IS a jerk, then I don’t WANT that kind of faith. I’d rather be a Wiccan and worship all-forgiving and all-perfect nature (which, by the way, Jesus would dig, I am convinced). It is a tough question—only one of which your recent posting touched upon. I see the questions as follows:

1) IS God a jerk?
2) What’s the deal with “saving” non Christians?
3) Why do people become Christians?
4) What’s up with heaven? (aka The Kingdom of God)
5) And others…

1) Is God a jerk? The Bible certainly portrays him as a total dick. Who’s the dude that God tricked into sacrificing his son to prove his love to God? Of course God took it back once he realized the poor bastard was more than willing to kill his son in the name of God. I certainly reject ANY God who would do such a thing—sounds like a leftover Zeus stuff to me (like the A1 polytheistic holiday, Christmas). And a God who required his only son (aka Jesus) to be tortured to death for us? Again…WHAT A DICK! No wonder Jesus had to go to the desert for 40 days—he wasn’t confronting Satan…he was confronting what a jerk his father was.

2) What’s the deal with “saving” non Christians? Case in point: When white man began to assimilate the Indians in the New World, one of the things that REALLY messed with their heads was how amazingly hypocritical Christianity was/is. Cultural assimilation of native populations—especially religious assimilation—has done a lot of harm to cultures world-wide (I’m an anthropologist so I know a bit about it…)

3) Why do people become Christians? Well, most of them are born into it and absorb what they are told because they want to belong to their tribe. But for what it’s worth, people (adults of other religions) who hear about Jesus for the first time really dig him. It’s the amazing pile of hypocritucal stuff that doesn’t add up that becomes the problem.

4) What’s up with Heaven? When I read what Jesus says (including the books that early Christian power mongers left out of the Bible for political reasons), it seems to me that Jesus was talking about a Kingdom on earth within our selves. I think he was referring to a self love and self acceptance that is all encompassing. When we love ourselves for EXACTLY who we are now, we achieve an inner bliss that is, indeed, heaven on earth. When we achieve that state, then we can effortlessly show that love and give a little bit of our inner Kingdom to others…

5) And others…of course this topic takes a lifetime to talk about, much less understand. And you know this truth much more than I.

No…I am not happy with God tonight…or Faith. Personally, I’ve NEVER been cool with God, but I think Jesus ROCKS!