To begin with, I am convinced that much of what the world knows or thinks it knows about God is
only half baked drivel at best. I say this with complete honesty and not a
little authority. I say it with honesty, because I know all too well, how we as humans imagine God to be in our image, to react to things as we do, to become angry and blow his top when we sin. How else could we imagine him?
We only glimpse of God’s character through the pages of the Bible, written so long ago, that we have no inkling of how Christ acted and talked on diverse issues. I say it with authority, because as an actual living member of the human race, I can
We simply don’t know…and so we imagine God to be like us, to act like us to walk, and talk and get indigestion like us. We imagine, because imagination is the gifting we have been given to anticipate things we cannot know but delightfully
Now I begin with this comment about how we project our own frailties upon God because the idea hasbeen proposed in our modern culture, by the prophetess Joan Osborne that God could actually walk among us
“If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?
“What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us?
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all aloneNobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in Rome
Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone,
Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home”
This is an enchanting question…. deliciously enchanting to me anyway. And it’s at the very heart of why we
have glimpses and sudden understanding about this fellow passenger God who makes the long trip around the sun along with you and me.
I believe it is at the heart of nearly every single honest person on earth. We think we see him at times, after he picked up our tab at the coffee shop when we were short on cash…or giving us his seat on the bus, or train, or classroom. We believe we saw him when he changed our flat tire or pulled us from a burning building…at
least we hope we saw him…but we can’t be sure.
You see, what I believe we really want is a God with skin who can explain hard things and comfort us with hugs and chicken soup and ….chocolate. And I don’t say those things to be
condescending or disrespectful…I say them because that is what I want too. I want a God whoknows what Dean and Deluca Almond roast tastes like. I want to know that he understands how showing up at the turnstile and discovering that your token has fallen through a hole in your pants and you can’t make farefeels like.
I want to know that he knows what it feels like to lose the love of your life to cancer, or dementia or an accident. I want to know that if there is a real God who is in charge, that he takes a weekly ride on the planet and snuggles up to us to find out how our weight loss plan is going…or the new job, new marriage and if we have downloaded the new song by that popular artist and what we think of it. I want him to be interested if my choice for Dancing with the Stars won or not…
I don’t think I am asking too much. I believe I am asking too little in fact. Don’t we all secretly wish for someone who knows…REALLY knows us, even if it were to expose our blackest side? I want a companion who can tell when I want to cheat at cards, or on the time clock, or on my wife…who could sidle up beside me and could help me to choose wisely, do nobly, live humbly.
Who can laugh with me about stubborn areas I don’t want to give up and without the self righteous “harrumph” when I admit I can’t stand the driver in the next car. Yes, I want a God in my own image;
there is no doubt about that. And against the grain of modern religious
psychobabble, that is exactly what we have in the person of Christ.
God does walk the earth but not in clothing from Jerusalem Brooks Brothers from 30 A.D. God is on the earth today, through his Spirit in His people, clad in jeans, and inked up. God has gray hair, black hair, red hair, and no hair, green hair…spiked, shaved, bearded, pierced and punked out. God goes solo, retro, metro and married …wears Polo, and White
Shoulders and likes painted nails and fill ins…
God cries in movies with you, hands you a hanky and asks for some popcorn…God is in people and has chosen to experience the world with you through them. His Spirit living in people is there to love, to care, to snuggle up against your life like a warm newborn infant.
But, I think, because of our collective propensity to pooh pooh such a ridiculous notion that many of us don’t believe that he makes these trips into our world, that we become angry and believe he is some detached miserable crusty old bastard who laughs like the Penguin in Batman at our misfortunes and sets the bar higher than anyone can
But He IS there, at the pump next to you filling up his tank…in the grocery line clipping coupons while he waits…and we do not know it is from him
that we receive the kindnesses. We are not aware that our joy at our surprise party is from Him, anymore than “a nursing child knows the mother from whence it receives nourishment”.<a></a>
I sat next to God on the train yesterday…we talked of work and friends and our pursuits over the weekend and then parted company. But before he left, he told me it was the best conversation he’d had all day. I clasped his hand and shook it, and told him I caught the same train daily in hopes we would bump into each other again…and he smiled and said, “I’d like that, I’d like that a lot”.