here’s the quote i read during my sermon.   it’s as troubling tonight,  as it was this morning…

That God your parents gave…the God you learned about at school and in church…the one that’s been kicking around all your life…He’s looking a bit dog-eared these days,  much like the Bible you left him in.

He’s a  little shabby,  worn out,  frayed around the edges.   And even if you dust Him down and patch Him up,  He doesn’t really measure up to your expectations.   All this smiting and judging,  it’s just not you any more.   All your friend’s Gods seem equally clapped out and none of the standard off-the-shelf  Deities comes even close to what you’re looking for.   No, there’s only one thing for it – and you’d better buckle down and make your own God,  before it’s too late.

Don’t be put off by the enormity of the task – it’s actually less difficult than you might think.   People just like you are doing it every day.   And there’s evidence to suggest they’ve been doing it for thousands of years.

they say that the truth hurts, sometimes.   well,  this is one of those times.   especially the last paragraph.   i’m afraid it is just more true than we want to admit.   we are guilty of making our own god…and our own religion.   and it isn’t just religious fruitcakes that do it.   it’s the faithful rank and file of the church.

here’s some of what it looks  (sounds)  like:

“god wants me to be happy” – we have this stoopid rationale that builds a syllogism ( if  a=b…and  b=c,  then  a=c ). it’s a conclusion that goes something likes this:

  • (a)  god wants me to be happy
  • (b)  this particular sin…no matter how disobedient it may be…is making me happy.
  • (c)  god is okay with me committing this particular sin
  • brilliant…

“i know the bible says what i am doing is wrong,  but god will forgive me” – as if we need to give god something to do with his time!

“it doesn’t really matter what we believe,  as long as we love each other.” –  since god is love,  when love is present,  god is present.   love is the greatest good.   love conquers all disagreements and conflicts.

“i know its says this somewhere in the bible…” – really?   i can’t tell you how many times i have heard somebody justify their belief or their behavior with this lame explanation.   it’s amazing what kinds of whack theologies are lived out by people in the name of the bible.

“all paths lead to god” – since there is only one true god,  all “god paths” must lead to him.   it doesn’t matter if it’s a hindu path or a buddhist path or a muslim path or a mormon path or a scientology path…they all eventually end up in the same spot.   how convenient.

“surely god wouldn’t___________” – you fill in the blank.   surely god wouldn’t let my loved one die.   surely god wouldn’t let me fail this test.   surely god wouldn’t let innocent children suffer.   surely god wouldn’t send “that” good man to hell.   surely…

“heaven is for good people…hell is for bad people” – we sooooo want to believe this!

there are more.   many more.

where are you guilty of creating your own religion?   how do you make up your own god?

7 thoughts on “Sermon…replay

  1. I’m not sure where I fit in and what I want God to be to me. I don’t feel that he wants me to be happy (doing a great job of that). I don’t know what he wants out of me; therefore I don’t know what I want out of him, so I can’t make anything heads or tails. Needless to say while you were preaching this sermon and I was housebound because Larry was at work, I was screaming at God that I hated my life (and unfortunately was saying I hated him) and I didn’t know what he wanted out of me. oh well. Some day I might figure it out.

  2. Dang. Whatever book or blog you got that from, remind me not to read it. What better way to build up fellow believers than to slam their faith, no matter how far into left field they are…

  3. Just another reason to read and study God’s word. We do have a relationship with the Creator and He is our Father and we His children. I think Scripture is very clear on this point. And like in any relationship it requires both to communicate. It’s why I don’t think God minds us yelling at Him. It’s the first step and as my wife tells me “at least we’re trying to figure it out”.
    I think it’s also important to remember that God wants us to be content in all situations which is different than being happy. Which underscores why I personally enjoy reading books about suffering. It reminds me God is always present in my life regardless if it feels like it (and don’t get me started on how decptive feelings can be). Psalm 23 reminds us of a couple of things. He is alwys present and death is only a shadow (not real) to those who pursue Him.

  4. sherri…i’m with channing on this one. realistically, god is the only one equipped to handle our anger. he never changes. he understands our motives…even better than we do. he sees our heart and knows us inside out. check out psalm 109 to see what real anger looks like. if god can handle the depth of david’s anger, he can handle yours.

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