Tag Archives: Jesus

God, love, and anger.

I’ve recently started reading “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of ‘A Course in Miracles’” by Marianne Williamson.  I have always loved the quote from this book,

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I have, in fact, built my life around that last part.  You have probably read me say things in this spirit before, like last week when I talked about being Shameless.

I decided to read the whole book and was gifted a Kindle edition.  So I’ve started.  (I’ve also been reading Francis Chan’s Crazy Love at the same time– both, incredible.  And very balancing, in an odd way.)  Maybe there is a theme here.  Maybe when I am done with both, I will write a post, or book, on both.  And I can call it “Returning to Crazy Love.” 🙂

But, I digress… back to Williamson.

There is something very right about her thinking.  I have never read “A Course in Miracles,” so I must only go by her reflections and scattered quotes.  I have just started chapter 2.  Chapter 1 focuses a lot on our fear.  Everyone’s fear.  The culture of fear we live in and all the many ways we reflect it.  It resonates with me, greatly.  Now, Chapter 2 is on God.  I am curious about Williamson’s God.  She makes it clear from the start that she is not supporting Christianity, although the principles do apply.  It sounds a lot like Christianity, though.  Enough to be useful to a Christian, or non-Christian, but confusing to someone who’s in between.  And then I hit a sentence which made certain that, although similar in many ways, Williamson’s God is not my God.

I highlighted this:

“Rather than accepting that we are the loving beings that He created, we have arrogantly thought that we could create ourselves, and then create God.  Because we are angry and judgmental, we have projected those characteristics onto Him.  We have made up a God in our image.  But God remains who He is…”

Good so far, right?

I think this is many people’s perception of God.  Whether or not they mean it to be.

But then this:

“God remains who He is…the thought of unconditional love.  He cannot think with anger or judgment; He is mercy and compassion and total acceptance.”

Hmm… Well… kind of?  It cannot be accurate that God cannot be angry or judge.  He is THE judge.  And He hates sin.  Cue the tape of Jesus overturning the tables in the temple.  Oh, He gets angry.  And there is acceptance, but not TOTAL acceptance.  Sin cannot be accepted.  God has standards.  What kind of a walk-all-over-me doormat God would He be if He COULD not be angry.  If He accepted everything?  He’d be an abused, co-dependent God.  He would not be a God worthy of praise and awe.

That said, there’s something to this.   What about for the Christian?  What about post-judgment?  I imagine this is exactly what our forever-reining, Satan-defeated God would be like.  With no cause for anger, judgment… or even mercy.  Overwhelming, total acceptance.  Dripping with love and compassion (while being powerful and awe-inspiring).

Jesus got angry.  It’s a quality talked about in the last book I read, Beautiful Outlaw.  The personality of Jesus.  God has emotions.  There are times when God is angry.  There are times when we should be angry.  But He is not angry all the time. And neither should we be.  God doesn’t have a problem with rage.  But when you look at His response to sin… rage certainly describes it.  Jesus has harsh words for the Pharisees… but with little exception, he does not speak this way with “sinners.”  He does not speak this way to His disciples.  There are times when I sin and I wonder– is God angry at me? Or disappointed? Perhaps I will understand a bit better when I have children of my own.  Or maybe God will have to just explain it to me one day.

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Beautiful Outlaw

I’ve been reading the book Beautiful Outlaw for a long time.  It has been a thought-provoking and perhaps life-changing book for me. I believe I’m finishing it today. I wish I had shared more of its wealth here.  If you consider yourself of a believer, you should read it. If you don’t, you should still read it.  It’s a heck of a book and gives a side of Jesus few sermons are written about. 

So I’m just going to share three thoughts today:

“As we love him, experience him, allow his life to fill ours, the personality of Jesus transforms our personalities.  The timid become bold and the bold become patient and the patient become fierce and the uptight become free and the religious become scandalously good.”

“What enormous good would it do in the world if churches were known as playful, witty, fierce, humble, generous, honest, cunning, beautiful, and true?”

“Suffering will try to separate you from Jesus.  You must not let it.”

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Shameless.

Her name was Jyoti Singh Pandey: Father of Indian Gang Rape Victim Speaks Out.

There is something about these words, spoken by Jyoti’s father.  In a world where parents are often pressured, and rapes sometimes occur as the result of family disgrace, or where rape is seen just as sex and is therefore family disgrace… these words ring out. Honest.  True.  Bold.  Proud.  Shameless.

There is something about shame.  It usually occurs with some form of sin.  In the Garden of Eden, we read about sin coming into the world.  Just one simple command: don’t eat the fruit of this one tree.  No Levitical law.  No Ten Commandments.  Just one.  But temptation arose and sin entered our world.  And it has stayed with us ever since, waiting for Jesus to come back and establish His reign.  We have escape from sin in Jesus now, but not perfect peace from it.

But then what happened?  Adam and Eve became ashamed.  And that shame has stayed with us too.  And it’s good.  Sometimes.  It’s our conscience speaking up.  Sometimes.  And other times, it’s culture.  It’s false guilt.  It’s what we’ve been made to believe we should feel guilty for.  It’s not having enough money.  Or admitting to a wrong.  Not the wrong-doing causing the shame, but the sheer admittance.  We are Adam and Eve.  We hide.  

Now, don’t get me wrong.  Sin is sin.  There is no arguing with that.  If you’re not sure you believe this, there’s some interesting food for thought HERE.  But perhaps sin was unavoidable… just maybe, if it hadn’t happened in the Garden, it would have just happened somewhere else.  Maybe while we battle sin daily, we need to battle shame with it.  Maybe the war on shame will be the key to the daily battle against sin.  Maybe.

Sin separates us from God.  But so does shame.  Shame made Adam and Eve hide.  Instead of approaching God based on His love, in boldness, saying “We messed up! Help!” Adam and Eve ran away.  And we do the same thing.  With God.  With each other.  

The dangerous part is that we do it when we’re not at fault– We have these bodies all backwards.  We don’t want to talk about rape.  We blame the victim.  We call it sex.

We don’t want a woman breastfeeding in public, however modestly.  We don’t even want to say the word “breast,” unless we’re talking about poultry.

We argue about the fine line between pornography and art.  

But we sexualize our TV, our music, our attitudes, our hearts.  And wonder why when we look at the world, we see sex.  I should mention here, I’m pretty pro-sex.  In the right contexts.  But sex in the wrong contexts has brought about a ton of shame.  And it’s taken our beautiful masterpiece bodies, designed by God, and hidden them.  From fig leaves to designer jeans.  

It’s late and I may be rambling.  I’m not suggesting we all just de-robe, walk around, and say it’s what God intended.  But what about teaching our sons, our daughters, and maybe even ourselves– that bodies are beautiful.  That they’re sacred.  That we need to live right, and that this is the key to no shame. That it’s ok to know your body, to educate yourself, to love what God made in you.  Each one of us is a sculpture by the Greatest Artist who exists.  He’s signed each of our hearts with a desire that we try to fill until we find Him and manage to give in to His love.  But some of us will find sex, alcohol, money, fame, science, pleasure, and a host of other things to try to fill that desire with first (which, are all OK things– but in proper priority).  And even those of us who find Him, will struggle with shame. We will call Jesus our Savior, but refuse to accept His love, because we are too ashamed.  Or we will accept the love, but never feel its full measure, too ashamed of our daily messes.  Shame.

Shame that makes us hide from God when He’s the only one who can make it better.  Shame that makes us hide from each other, and makes it easy for sin to target and pick us off.  

Almost a week in to 2013, I’m thinking it’s not too late for resolutions.  So I resolve to attempt to live more shamelessly in 2013.  To be willing to be uncomfortable, at times, in the proper situations, to attempt to free myself and others.  To attempt an honest conversation.  To connect, in a real, honest, intimate way– the way God intended us to interact with Him and each other.  

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