Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Our Perceptions of God

I'm still plugging away in my sermon series while my senior pastor is away. The next few days will offer snippets of this past Sunday. 


It’s confession time. I’m a recovering American Idol fan. How many of you have ever watched the show, or still watch it? I know many people who have really gotten into the show, cheering and voting for their favorites to win it all. I once called in to vote, but that was a long time ago.

But my favorite part was not the end, where all the great singers were. My favorite part was the beginning, when they would parade in the tone-deaf crowd for our amusement. You know, the people who couldn’t carry a tune if they had a bucket.

I think most of us see God as one of the American Idol judges. No, not the current ones that are such a hot mess. The originals. Too many of us fear a Simon Cowell-like judge, the surly brit who was rarely kind. (That was absolutely horrible.) On the other hand, too often we treat God like He is going to respond to us like Randy Jackson. (Yo dawg, I am on the William Hung train...yo!)

I would offer that we should be more balanced, like Paula Abdul (clapping, encouraging, offering critique, but always encouraging.) Yes, she had quirks like all American Idol judges, but you would hear the truth in a polite manner. (Oh, honey, this competition isn’t really for you.)

How we perceive God effects everything else…

How we perceive God affects how we portray God. If we see God as only an indignant judge, we will treat people as criminals defending themselves. If we see God as merely a free candy store, handing out blessings to anyone, then we will act as if we have to keep offering people ‘stuff’ to be our friends, to be one of us.

The problem, of course, is that I could go on painting simplistic pictures of God that favor one extreme or another. We could all jump on our high horses (how weird a saying is that?) and feel smug that our view is so much better. But we need to find a balance, showing God to be bigger than what we think, better than what we imagine, more complicated than even our best pictures.

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