Monday, March 09, 2009

relationship with God

I was having a discussion on Saturday about the phrase 'the most important thing in my life is my relationship with God' and why I am unsure that it is really very helpful. It is a hard thing to talk about given that my worldview is coloured by a particular background - but generally I hold to most parts of my fairly orthodox evangelical Christian theology (so cannot really be described as a liberal). My issue is mostly that we've missed the point with church.

We have made the issue all about Jesus and Me - but mostly about me. I am continually and increasingly concerned how little we actually believe the gospels actually apply to us. I see no indication that this syrupy emotional stuff is desirable for the Christ-follower in the gospels. Indeed, when Jesus meets those we reject (those with doubts, the sick, the unworthy, the prostitute, the smelly) he exhibits generosity yet when he meets people who are more like us (ie members of the religious aristocracy) he is particularly harsh. Rather than encouraging people like us, he points the finger, calls names, says we're shallow, without faith, hypocrites and like snakes.

Of course, there are times when everyone is feeling particularly broken and needs to know the warmth of a loving God. Indeed, there are some who have missed out on much in this life and really really need a touch of grace.

But we really need to get over the implication that God is Michael Jackson and is primarily interested in our adulation and syrupy indulgences. The Christian is not to mouth the Lord's Prayer but live it. Each day I should be asking whether I am for the Kingdom of justice and peace or against it. Each day I should be asking for forgiveness of those around me as I have been forgiven and blessed. If I claim to 'love the Lord' I should be living the things he said: reaching out to those in prison, healing the sick, visiting the helpless. If I am not doing those things, I should not claim to have anything to do with him.

God is not primarily interested in your emotional wellbeing. Get over yourself.


Blogger Karin said...

'The Christian is not to mouth the Lord's Prayer but live it. Each day I should be asking whether I am for the Kingdom of justice and peace or against it.'

I agree with that, Joe.

I agree we do need to ask for forgiveness, but sometimes the church is too keen for us to believe we are 'miserable sinners' when I believe Jesus came to show us that in spite of our failings, which can be serious, we are loved by God and full of God-given potential.

I also think our emotional state does matter as it will effect our ability to fulfill that potential, but I agree we can become obsessed with it in a selfish way. On the whole, perhaps the church attracts 'broken people' and needs to be able to make them whole better than it does at present. I think often the church has contributed to their 'brokenness'.

I certainly agree that God is not 'interested in our adulation and syrupy indulgences. I think he wants us to be aware of his non-syrupy love and acceptance for us so that we can be healed and reach out to others with healing love and acceptance. Indeed, we are to respond with respect for the whole of Creation.

I hope all is well with you and yours.

1:06 PM  

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