Last week, I had a fascinating dialog with the pastor of a mainline denominational church. After 50+ years, he was leaving. Raised a theological liberal, he was ending a half-century wrestling match with what he knew about God, and the disturbing trajectory of his denominational hierarchy.
They’re playing too loose with Scripture, and He felt their understanding of God was simply inaccurate. A bad picture. Their own “idol,” created in their image, to support their cultural preferences.
I couldn’t avoid the irony.
For the last few years, I’ve been trying to untangle some of my overly fundamentalist tendencies. A picture of God entwined in rules, experience, and flawless performance. My own “idol,” created in my image, to support my cultural preferences.
While my mainline friend was trying to re-wind the loosey-goosey, I was trying to unwind the too tightly-wound. Starkly different starting points with the same ending desire: to truly know the Creator.
We all have a picture of God. We can’t help it. And His true image can quickly become distorted by the imperfect expressions of this broken world.
The part of the country or globe where we were born.
The way our parents interacted with us.
The type of church environments we’ve experienced.
The instinctive nature of our individual personalities.
The pain we’ve encountered in life.
These human experiences, even the seemingly good ones, can involuntarily re-shape the True God into our own god. Which leads me to this question:
What do you believe about God that may not be true?
Asked with cynicism, this question can take you on a journey toward bitterness and anger. Asked in sincerity, I’ve found it leads towards freedom. Towards the true nature of a God who not only can be known, but longs to be. For who He really is.