Recently I have been wondering something. I have always felt it is very important for us to question our faith. I think it’s important for us to struggle a bit. Without struggle, without resistance without digging deeper into what we read, what we hear and what we say we believe, our faith will mean nothing.
The other issue I have is this idea that we can’t just say whats going on. What we mean, what we think or what we believe to be the way it should be.
Today I read two different articles, both bothered me. The first had to do with Pastors of large churches that have lately done some pretty boneheaded things. We all do boneheaded things, we all have people in our lives who do the same things, sometimes in our name. The other was an article that detailed Christians dislike for the reboot of Carl Sagans Cosmos that airs on Fox. (I find it ironic that Christians have anointed fox news as their chosen place for all things fair and balanced and christian, and deride most of the television that comes from it’s parent company as evil.) Anyway it may seem strange that two seemingly unrelated articles would strike a nerve with me but they do.
When did pastors and Christians decide that God was so tiny. The first article I read detailed a pastor who built a 16,000 square foot home, and then told his mega church congregation the money came from book royalties, not from his salary and while this may be partially true it was not fully honest. Others mentioned in the article used for profit tactics to put themselves on the best seller list and keep themselves there longer than they would otherwise have been. Other authors do it. They set up buying campaigns to get their books noticed and on the top of the charts, while this may be understood and accepted in secular circles as business as usual, churches and pastors doing the same thing leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth, including my own. The thing is these pastors god is tiny to me. They don’t feel right about having the money to build a large house, because they have the idea that having a large house is somehow counter to the image that a pastor is supposed to portray. At some point they took the reigns of their career away from God. The difference between a career and a calling is muddy, but in this instance what started as a desire to introduce people to Jesus, to see a church grow because it meant that God was getting into peoples lives and changing them, morphed into a career, full of staff, agents, handlers, book deals and conference invites. I guess I’m naive enough to believe that if you get the feeling you need to hide the fact that your salary at the church is large enough to afford a 16,000 foot home, it could be time to listen to what God is saying, instead of to what the tiny god has been striving so hard to achieve.
The second article has to do with the tiny god that many evangelicals have placed on the throne in their lives. Do we really want to say that there is no possible way for our world to be older than 10,000 years. That the universe has only been around between 6000 and 10,000 years? Is the evangelical idea of God so small that for him to create more than one earth more than one galaxy, more than one solar system really what we want to say? My belief in God creating the universe really has nothing to do with six literal days, or six ages, it makes no difference to me how it was done, or how long it took, what matters is my belief, my faith that God created. People being upset over a TV show that looks at scientific data and interprets it because it doesn’t give enough time to two people running around a garden naked 6000 years ago is just sad. Why do we make this a priority? Why is it so important to be right about creation, when so many in our world need to know a few simple facts. Humanity is broken, Jesus came to fix the problem by being broken, all we have to do is accept the help he offers.
This whole thing is part of a much larger conversation to me that has to do with this verse.
2 Timothy 2:23 (NLT)
23 Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights.
The passage goes on to talk about being kind and patient, to tell people the truth and then to let God do the rest. Somehow though the god many serve is to tiny to do those things. I would submit that the reason the god so many serve is so tiny is because that god is the one that has been manufactured. The tiny god that is so easy to serve, is that way because we ascribe to him the attributes we are most comfortable with, we take the best parts of ourselves and pin them to the god that we are comfortable serving, because lets face it, it’s easier to serve the tiny god of self than it is to serve God…