Copyright 2006 by Joshua Wood
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Ladies and Gentlemen: God is not your pet.
Quite the contrary, actually. He’s the God of the Universe by whom we live, move and have our being. He is less interested in becoming what you want him to be than I am in coexisting with liberalism.
But despite his sovereignty, his created still assume he can be domesticated.
Our churches are becoming god-breeders and pet stores where families can pick the perfect family god. We stand, separated by glass, in front of a row of cages looking for the perfect god. Then, when we think we’ve seen “the one” we go into a small room and play with it for a few minutes to make sure it has the temperament we’re looking for. As long as god wags his tail and licks our faces we’ll take him home and teach him the house rules.
And for those unruly gods we’ve got god-training at our “pet-stores” (churches), or, in those cases of completely untrainable gods, we’ll either fire the pet-store management or find a new pet-store completely – after dropping the undesirable god off at the god pound for adoption or destruction.
After much interaction with god owners, I’ve identified the most common breeds of god.
The Lap-God is known for its quiet, laid-back personality. They are as eager to cuddle up next to their owner as they are to go for a quiet stroll through the park. Easy to maintain and requiring little exercise, the Lap-God is perfect for anyone that wants a god without all the hassles normally associated with god ownership. They are humble gods. Owners never complain about their Lap-Gods attempting to assert their will or be dominant. And Lap-Gods never act outside their owners’ ability to understand. They are completely transparent and logical.
If you’re looking for absolutely no obligation, the Lap-God is the god for you.
The Guard-God is perfect for protecting you and all that’s important to you. Known to be fiercely loyal and protective of you, the Guard-God gains its self-worth from making sure no hardship befalls you. There are two distinct lines in the Guard-God breed.
The Avenger Guard-God is bred for individual protection. The Avenger embraces the hopes, dreams, beliefs, philosophies and scripture interpretations of its owner and will attack any god that does not submit to it. The Avenger is perfect for anyone whose world-view is based on emotions or laziness as well as those not desiring to be around gods that they view as aggressive. The Avenger is the perfect companion for anyone afraid of the True-God.
Cousin to the Avenger is the more family-friendly Nanny-God. The Nanny-God is great with children and busy families. Bred for its ability to stand guard and ensure that nothing harmful happens to the family – especially the children. They are clean and neat. They are ever-vigilant. They will even take your kids to church and school. Once you’ve employed the Nanny-God there’s no need to worry about the kids ever again.
But the Nanny-God is not just good with the kids. They are also good at chasing away The Perils of Life, Illness, Meanness, Challenge, Growth, Conviction, Hurt Feelings and “Ugly Talk.”
Rest assured; if anything ever enters your world that makes you uncomfortable or unhappy, it is not the result of anything the Nanny-God has done.
I once had the pleasure of being present, in a vehicle, in a mall parking lot when a young woman suggested we pray before we entered the mall. I thought, “Oh, cool, she is hoping for a chance to witness to someone.” As she began to pray she said, “Dear Lord, please help us find a bathing suit for the lake and a $5 present for our friend’s party.”
As she was done praying, I immediately asked her why she didn’t have a (Bargain)Hunting-God. The (Bargain)Hunting-God is a god especially gifted at helping its owner find everything they’ve ever wanted – at a reasonable price. In fact, they are so skilled that all many owners have to do is verbalize exactly what they want and the (Bargain)Hunter will almost immediately present it to them.
Anyone tired of their pedestrian life – or just not having the right shoes – would benefit from a (Bargain)Hunting-God.
Of all the god breeds, The Show-God is the flashiest. The Show-God loves to be pampered and dressed up. They flourish under the glare of the audience. Their swagger is perfect. Their bark is always in tune. Their tricks are always properly timed and flawlessly executed. Of course, the downside is that they are extremely habitual creatures. They can become moody and aggressive if there routines are altered. On occasion they’ve been known to attack their owners for varying the routine.
Oh, and they hate drums.
The Show-God should be handled with caution by an experienced god handler, and they should never be left unattended around children.
Stop playing games with God.
God has told us enough about himself for us to know how silly these understandings are. Yet we’re so eager to glorify ourselves that we’re willing to reduce God to our image.
It’s sick. And it’s not even creative. It’s as old as human sin. Satan tempted Eve: “Become like God. Know what God knows.” Instead, they saw what God saw – they saw themselves as they were.
We cannot continue to play games with the name and image of God. We can’t allow our teachers to propagate myths of a neutered, user-friendly God. We can’t tolerate teaching that leaves us feeling OK about our misunderstandings and shortcomings. These pie-in-the-sky pictures of a Santa Claus Jesus are destructive.
This whole line of thought was spurred by a worship song I heard in a church recently. A line in the chorus was praising the “humble” love of Christ.
I almost walked out. What is humble about defying all of society’s conventions and expectations? What’s humble about forgiving sin? What’s humble about conquering death for the elect? What’s humble about crafting your signature into creation so that even those who never hear of you are still unable to escape you?
Jesus was humble in many ways – even unto death, but his love was outrageous. His concern for his people was unmatched. His passion for righteousness sparked the most righteous anger humanity has ever seen.
But we’re so busy as a people trying to feminize everything, to soften everything until it’s comfortable for everyone – especially the reprobate – that we’re losing a picture of the overwhelming audacity of God.
He doesn’t want our best efforts. He doesn’t want us to try. He doesn’t want us to set realistic goals. He doesn’t want strategic visions and five year plans. A humble God might be happy with these, but the outrageous God of the Universe meant it when he said he was jealous – he wants it all: our time, our efforts, our energy, our passions, our hearts, souls and minds.
And we want to call him humble? We want to create god-breeds that fit nicely on our laps or with our models of a good life.
We would be wise to rethink our understanding of God. We would be wise to rework our approach. Maybe we’re the ones that ought to try humility.
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