More on the “Grown-Up God”

May 30, 2006

This is part of a response I wrote on another blog.  I rather like it and decided to throw it up here, as it is past my bedtime so I just know I'm going to be running late in the morning and probably not able to post anything…

We all need the help and illumination of the Holy Spirit in order to guide us through Scripture.

The honest answer is this: I don't know what to do with the Scriptures that say some are excluded. Maybe after I'm through seminary I'll have a better answer. But for now I just sort of keep those on a shelf in a shoebox.

What I do know is this– I have known from the moment I was born that I could not believe in a God who ever let anyone suffer eternally. It has been intuitive for me that a God who created us had to create us out of love. That love had to be infinite, like the love I know from my parents. Infinite love cannot allow exclusion.

Somebody is bound to bring up judgement and so on. Justice for me occurs over a long period of time through the spirit. The title of my blog is "leaning towards justice"- a quote from my rector, who said that over time, the arc of history always leans towards justice. That is the judgment I believe in. That in the biggest picture God always wins (slavery is over, Apartheid came to an end, the Holocaust ended and Hitler's regime fell, women are gaining rights, and now so are gays and lesbians, etc.).

Just like I don't get involved in every childish sibling squabble between my kids, I don't think God necessarily "keeps a list" of every right and wrong here. But I do try to get my kids to learn from their mistakes. I encourage them to grow. To become better people. I don't force them to do that. I do it lovingly, as only a parent, teacher, coach, mentor, priest, can. And so does God, I believe.

Where is the Scripture? Look at the life of Jesus. Look at the way he interacted with people. Look at the call of Moses. And so on. Do I put a lot on the shelf? Yes. But the God of judgement to me is all about a historical sin– an errancy that has exactly to do with what Elizabeth is talking about here. It is a God for children who want desparately for the parent to step in and make sure everything is going to be ok when they are fighting over their toys. But the parent knows that in the grand scheme of things, its more important for them to learn how to work it out themselves. The God of adults I think understands this aspect– the adult looks to God for life lessons instead of judgements.

This post is way too long, and I know it isn't the scriptural foundation you were looking for– I can't just quote a verse and be done with it. I'm leery of any theology which quotes scripture that way. I use the reason, the compassion, the love, the understanding, the experience, the tradition, that God gave me to understand it.

But Jesus helps, too. A lot.


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