Retracing our roots
We have all grown up with some impression about a higher being, commonly called God. To some, He has been a disciplinarian with thunder for a voice. To others, He has been one that dishes out fury and punishment to the rebellious. He is the all seeing, all knowing and Big Brother supervisor.
Over the years as we grow, this perception of God may be altered as one discovers more about Him. While still others may completely steer away from Him opting for atheism or whatever variation they find comfortable and acceptable.
The choice will always be personal and unique to an individual. What is explicit though is that one way or another, every individual yearns for or pursues something bigger and deeper than themselves.
Looking around in our lives and environment, it becomes an intriguing undertaking to ascertain people’s perception of God. We all harbour expectations while at the same time may not have outgrown the God planted in our young naïve minds as we grew up.
Is He what we want Him to be?
So then what kind of God do we see and desire in our lives?
I for one don’t want the dictator we have been told about. The one who insists on His way or the highway. The bully that threatens you with eternal fire. I can always picture that He perhaps does not even know how to smile! I can probably confidently say the same is society’s expectation.
We all want the God that will turn a blind eye to the things we love which He deems wrong. A God who will see corruption and laugh it off as a modern phenomenon.
The God who will turn a blind eye to fornication, adultery and insatiable lusts that His creation is lost in. Because He realises this is a normal part of their makeup and it offers them the pleasure that makes them happy. One who will gladly endorse multiple partners and reckless fun as acceptable.
We would like a God that sees no ill in me being kind to the person I know or want something from but not to the stranger on the street.
One that cares less about how loud I sing and pray in church on Sunday while my mind is on the crazy time I had the previous night. Even better, while I sit there listening to another boring sermon or homily, my mind would be on that irritating man or woman, relative or otherwise, who I loath and would want to get back at.
I’m just being human and I would undoubtedly be over the moon to have a God who has a human mind and understanding of my make up.
Imagine a God that takes a vacation with no particular attention to my appetites, thoughts or the so called sinful drive of my nature!
A God who won’t be so bothered to see humanity pounding each other as a result of jealousy, selfishness, raw ambition and self importance.
I want a God that can see me walk past someone I know needs a meal or a penny to get through another term of school. And He won’t be bothered I just ignored that needy person and walked right into church with hands held high as I sing “Hallelujah”.
Sitting right in front for my weekly ritual marked as “church” as the “man of God” takes his place. In front of an eager audience, each with their secrets and desires bottled in, concealed from the world.
The man of God who the previous evening had been in the bosom of a congregant, intoxicated after a rather heavy night of sensual satisfaction. Perhaps, a man of God who has taken vows to remain celibate but has a truckload of children and steady partners to deal with his lust. A man of God whose vision includes being wealthy, influential and enjoying the jet setting lifestyle of a celebrity.
We in the audience eagerly sit there so we can tick church off our weekly list of “things to do”. We sit in the pew after an abusive altercation with our spouses or lashing out at someone on the way to church. Hands raised again without thought of the misdeeds and illicit activities of the previous night!
A God that can forget all this and smile it away? Well I would want that kind of God to even run for president!
The kind that is not strict about thieving leaders, hypocritical politicians that promise to work for the people and forget this the minute they taste the luxuries of power.
A God who takes no issue with a man that batters his wife to pulp. Or the person gone crazy that kills another person without any sense of remorse or abhorrence.
If you love me, be glad when I’m happy!
The God we have been raised to know is saddened by my having a nice time. I cannot understand that. Is He not supposed to be happy for me?
Why would a night out partying, filled with booze, loud music and fun be an issue?
Why would He be saddened when a man or woman opts for another relationship outside marriage if it makes them happy? Why would He be unhappy with just one more abortion because a couple are not ready to raise a child but want to still have sex?
This God I have been told about is so strict and that is why in my mind He really has been full of “do’s and don’ts”. It’s either He wants you to do something or does not at all.
Problem is, He usually asks that you do what you don’t want. Stopping you from doing what you have found to be fun and enjoyable.
Just one more stare at that well shaped lady, perhaps a night out with drinks and whatever else follows! With all the flaws my partner has, why not enjoy some refreshing moments with the other man that sweeps me off my feet? He at least looks like he can fix things around the house, maybe put his stuff in the right place, surprise me with gifts and be the prince charming I want! A knight in shining armour!
She looks like the kind of woman I’d love. She’s fun, makes me laugh, turns heads when she saunters past and makes me feel young again.
I feel good about this. Now tell me, why would a God they say loves me have a problem with me feeling good? That is not my idea of love.
Taking charge my way
I want to be me, the king in my kingdom. I know what I love and what keeps me fired up. So this God inhibits me.
I want to scream in traffic when someone cuts in, airing my unprintables to vent my unrelated frustrations at someone.
I want to grin with pretentious joy, exposing all my teeth at someone but be the first to speak ill behind their back.
How about just the routine gossip about the way my office mate or neighbour dresses, walks or the differences they have in their home? After all, I am better than them somehow.
If I turn up in church one day, forget all these things I may have done or said. I’m holy that moment. Can’t you hear my voice churning out the praises? All else does not matter at that stage, let me worship and we carry on later with our usual life when we are done.
That is my life, the life I know. So even when I gossip, drink my head off, lust, lie or stab someone in the back, why would someone think it is wrong?
If I stole a few hours from work so I can be on facebook, chat in the corridor or idle around but expect my full pay, is it so bad? I reported and put in what’s need, at least the minimum.
That should suffice. But wait a minute, this God we’ve been told about has something to say here as well. He says I’m not being truthful and faithful. To who? Myself, others or Him? Why is it always about Him?
What does the world see, want and enjoy?
I cannot mask it. The world as it is longs for a God that has nothing against what we love. Alcohol, drugs, prostitution, extra-marital affairs, divorce, failed marriages, children out of wedlock, prejudice, corruption, neglected homes, absentee parents, homosexuality and grand hypocrisy. These are normal activities of our every day life and we do them effortlessly.
This is who we are and if we are fine as it is, why should we have a God that prefers to put a lid on all this? Where is the humour or love in such a draconian approach?
If it makes me happy and fulfilled, leave me be. After all, it is not like I am killing someone to be happy. I’m just playing my part.
The real story behind the scenes
Let us retrace our roots. Let us explore what we know of God. Let us undertake to know what He stands for, despises and cherishes. Let us examine also what we love and cherish.
What is pointed out above sounds ridiculous and makes you wonder how someone sane can state it so plainly. But with a closer assessment, it becomes evident that indeed that is what the world is saying.
We pursue our sensual appetites and choices, disregarding all that God stands for or calls us to. We know best and are wiser than He is. He does not understand the times we live in, how things have changed and how what was detestable centuries ago has become fashionable today. He hasn’t moved with the modern times.
Or perhaps it is a case of wanting a disposable God? One we can draw out when we need Him and are faced with daunting issues. When all is well, who needs Him? How many times do we scream to Him when jobless, hopeless, facing marital or financial pressures, in an accident, under attack or simply down! He’s our disposable choice.
We may as well tell God just that to His face. Our lives speak far louder than what we profess. Our habits, choices and attitudes say more about our God than we may know. Show me a person’s life, words, actions and I’ll show you their God.
In the end it always is one of two. Either there is a God and He is the one you follow willingly or there isn’t and you follow something or someone different.
If you follow Him, the responsibility lies with you to establish what He loves and why He guides us not to do certain things for our good. Then maybe out of love, we will follow rather than abide by a “do’s and don’ts” code.
If you do not follow Him, it remains your responsibility as well to ascertain the implications, cost and benefits of the decision.
Some things appear ridiculous when uttered but acceptable when done. We see this in our lives every day. How many people can raise a hand and accept that they worship the devil? But yet how many of us live in a manner that confirms this fact?
Let us take time to reflect on what our lives are saying about the kind of God we want. Is it the one that wants ultimate good for us and thus guides us? Or is it the one who can gladly look away as we delve into our chaos simply because we are “happy”?
What kind of God do you want? Is He consistent with what your life is saying?