Saturday, December 16, 2006

More thoughts on 'thought provoking'

In a late night moment of surprise i quoted a David Wilcox lyric here, only two post ago but i will put the link in anyway! I did find it thought provoking - though i had to overcome a personal prejudice to do so...

What i mean is that the quote had 'I want to feel what's real' as the third line, and I always have a negative reaction to 'I want' - we live in such an 'i want' culture that seems built on selfishness - a commodity culture that encourages us to reject stuff that we don't like. As someone who tries to follow Christ, this chafes against my own understanding of discipleship, sometimes we don't get to do what we want because we have to do what is right.

Despite that, I think the quote is a good one! It was the bit about God being 'pocket sized' that stood out. There is a tendency amongst not only Christians but all people to have a reductionist picture of God. God fills a certain need or desire we have. We make God in our own image, we confine God to the limits of our own understandings.

Churches are guilty of this, perhaps even more than people generally. We decide how we want God to be and we proclaim an impoverished Gospel. One without depth, or filled with a certainty that doesn't actually exist in the message of Jesus. In this way our God is 'pocket sized'.

Whereas the Bible is a journey, grappling with a God beyond knowing, but recognising that we have glimpses of a God who chooses to reveal himself to humanity. At the same time, though, this God refuses to be categorised, easily labelled, or reduced to our own way of knowing.

Our God breaks out of our strictures, our narrow vision, no more obviously than when he emptied himself and took on human form in Jesus Christ. This was no easy formula for salvation, but a self giving love that is beyond our understanding and no matter how hard we theologise, or how many doctrinal statements we make, we will never truly understand this act of supreme grace, that 'God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him will not die but live forever.'

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