Monday, May 21, 2012


What would it look like to actually believe in God?

I wonder this a lot.  In fact it's the question that tumbles around in the back of my cranium all the time.  And it pops up in my life in a thousand different ways.

Sometimes I zip through my days as if my productivity is all that matter = no God.  Sometimes I wake up wishing there was a small place for me to hide for the day and curl up under the covers wishing I didn't have to face life = no God.  Sometimes I see people as objects, either to help me get what I want or as obstacles to getting = no God.  Sometimes I worry as if my personal world is going to fall apart = no God.

BUT if there is a God, it makes all the difference.  If there is a God, my life takes on a totally different hue.  If there is a God, then what occupies me may or may not occupy him, but what occupies him is actually important.  If there is a God, and more specifically the Christian God of the Bible, who baffles us with his holiness and perfection as much as his mercy and love, I have to recognize that much of what I think of as real, simply isn't real.

What I mean is all the energy I pour into arranging my fantasies and fears, trying to make my days a bit easier, is really a waste of time.  If there is a God, if I can't comprehend anything else, I've got to comprehend that he deals in the real.

I've been challenged recently to look at the "genocidal God" that we often seen in the OT.  The God who commanded Israel to wipe out other nations.  How does this fit within our understanding of a loving and merciful God?

While I don't have time and space to address this here, I want to note that if there is a God, who brings a new reality, a radically different reality than our thoughts, there should be things about him that we can't categorize neatly, or subject to our very western and scientific modes of modern thinking.

One of my favorite authors, Anne Lammot, yes I said Anne Lammot (the crazy funny liberal Christian), came to faith when she heard about the Abraham and Isaac sacrifice story.  Something about this story spoke to her.  Ironically it's one of the stories that so many point out as one that reveals God's true character - as a sadist.

But something in the story drew her.  My guess, and I have no idea, but my guess is that this story deals with realities converging.  In it God asks the most of Abraham, ripping out his very heart and hope, and then in the greatest plot twist, steps in and offers relief.  It's like God is saying, welcome to my reality Abraham.  Welcome back to leaning on me in your old age, not just your son.  Welcome back to being rescued be me.  Welcome back to seeing in yourself great faith, great emotion, gut-wrenching stuff, that is relieved by me.

That's why I think suspecting that God is real is one of the best practices for the Christian.  Because, let's be honest, most of the time we really don't think he is.  We don't see him, we don't feel him, we don't hear him.  He doesn't exist.  But if he does, our reality has to be radically shifted to make room.

In my mind, making room for God is worship.  It's difficult, that's why it's worship.  We don't want to, that's why it's worship.  It's baffling and confusing and doesn't always fit with our logic, that's why it's worship.  Worship is recognizing that a GOOD God is real, and responding to his reality, really.

Worship is basically just being real.