Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The god of our many understandings

On my RSS feeder are a lot of blogs that I regularly check to see what's going on in the world. I'm pretty bad about keeping up with things. For example, until I got a call from a friend about some missionary friends of ours in Lebanon, I had no idea that any conflict was happening in the area...well, other than what happens daily there.

Anyway, one of my favorites is Al Mohler's. He's an unbelievably brilliant man whom God must have gifted with more hours in his day than mine has. It couldn't be that he's just smarter, more talented, more focused, more disciplined, right? Exactly. So now that God blessed him with those hours, he uses them to run a seminary, write books, preach, do conferences, a daily radio show and, of course, blog. Sigh...

I had heard rumblings about the furor Obama had caused by asking an evangelical (loosely termed) to give a prayer at the inauguration. But I hadn't heard until recently that he'd also asked an openly gay Episcopalian Bishop to do the same. Not a shock though. I mean, we all know that this is the true diplomat president. They said of him that during his days as Harvard Law that there was no one who was able to appease both sides more than Obama. He was friends with the conservatives and the liberals. Which, I'll admit, simply says to me that he stands for nothing at all.

So, I wasn't surprised to hear that he found someone to appease the left. He also got the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington to sing. Nobody's really surprised, right? Well, then, what's left that might shock us? How about a bishop from a mainstream, traditionally Christian denomination that doesn't even plan to pray a Christian prayer? Yeah. That'd do it for me. Naive, aren't I?
Dr. Mohler wrote about it today and led me to this article...The New York Times reports (emphasis mine):

Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”

“I am very clear,” he said, “that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”

Bishop Robinson said he might address the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” language that he said he learned from the 12-step program he attended for his alcohol addiction.

"This will not be a Christian prayer"? Then it's not prayer at's talking out loud with your eyes closed. But I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to hear it. The god of our many understandings is very in right now. The big word is anthropomorphism. It simply means talking about God in human terms which is the only way we can. But what it comes to mean inside of us is that we make Him in our minds like us...only bigger, better, stronger, faster, more loving, more helpful, more like we want to be. He's our superhero God.

Which only becomes a problem when you read Scripture...

Isaiah 40:18...
To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?

To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, that we may be alike?

Isaiah 46:5...
To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, that we may be alike?

The repetition should make the point to us...but how about one more? And just to show you I actually read other books besides Isaiah...

Acts 17:29 (emphasis mine)...
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think
that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone,
an image formed by the art and imagination of man.

The issue is highlighted by the end of Isaiah 40:25 and 46:5. We make God "alike" with what we compare Him. He's like us. Which flips completely what we are told throughout Scripture. He is not the created one. We are. He is not created in our image. We are created in His. We are like small, small echoes. He, I can think...but not like He thinks. He, I can feel...but not like He feels. He moves, speaks, purposes, plans, do I...but not like He does.

We must, must be led back to an understanding of God that puts Him as definer and us as defined. He as originator and us as derived. He as the Potter and we merely clay in His hands...having the right and ownership to do whatever He wills. God speaks to us clearly from Isaiah 29:16...
You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
"He did not make me";
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
"He has no understanding"?

We have turned things upside down. We have looked at the One who made us and proclaim to Him what He will He may move...what He may feel and think. But what He really thinks is...

Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,
or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?
As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,
or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!
Isaiah 10:15

And our response? Will you join me during the inauguration next Tuesday? Pray to God. Ask Him for mercy in light of what He'll hear. Turn to Daniel 9 and read it. Get the feel for what we need by listening to him pray. And pray. Please, pray. Say with me...

But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

1 comment:

Laura said...

Kim your posts are always very encouraging! That doesn't surprise me either, but it sure is sad! I was just talking with my dad last night about Obama trying to be on both sides of the fence. So it should be an interesting 4 years! I've realized all I can do it pray!