In America, politics and sports are beginning to become so similar people cheer for political parties the way they do NFL teams--with no regard for policies or morality, but simply judging success on wins and losses. This stinks. It stinks because allegiances to political parties at the expense of the common good is moronic. It stinks because nothing can get done in a representative democracy as long as no one is willing to work with members of the other "team." It stinks because it is seeping into our spirituality.
I'm noticing a celebrity-worship culture brewing in modern Christianity. People are becoming followers of this one guy or that guy and saying everything the other guy says is crap because he isn't on our team. People only buy books written by people they already agree with and criticize the things the other side writes without ever reading a page of the very book they are criticizing. That's intentional ignorance! You can't abandon reason and logic just because your "leader" says this other author is a "heretic."
I have several friends who have come from a place where they felt God was mad at them. This is troubling to me. It's troubling because of what I KNOW God to be. George Macdonald, an author who influenced the life and work of C.S. Lewis once said that he believed that God is just like Jesus. Think about that statement. God is just like Jesus.
Why is that controversial?
Why is that revolutionary?
Why would I even blog about that statement?
Because too many of us are convinced Jesus snuck out of heaven to save us from angry Mr. God, who would rather kill us all than let us into His presence. Why do we think that? Because there are a lot of people (some of them really smart people) who make a lot of money writing about how we should live in fear of God's holy wrath and how we should consider ourselves lucky because Jesus saved us from this wrath which God is going to pour out on all the poor jokers who weren't picked to be in the club in the first place.
I believe that God is just like Jesus.
Jesus loved everyone He came across. Jesus looked at a man being executed for his criminal lifestyle and told Him "see ya in Heaven, brah." Jesus asked God to forgive the people who were killing Him. Dallas Willard once said to a room I was in, "Don't be surprised to see those Roman soldiers in heaven." Jesus breaks down walls between heaven and earth, heaven and hell, good and bad, slave and free, Jew and Gentile, because HE LOVES US. Christ's love for us is the motivating factor--the gas in the engine--of everything He does.
I believe God is just like Jesus.
God's motivating factor is His inexplicable, downright silly love for creatures who resist His grace and love every single day of their lives. He loves us. I can't tell you why, but I can tell you that I have been overcome by this Love and have come to know it on a personal level. It is deep and rich, thick and bold, it smells and feels and is vivid and fills up all of my senses all of the time. God's love for me is the only thing I really know. It doesn't make any sense, but it comforts me. I can't figure out why anyone, much less the Infinite and Immortal One would love me, but HE DOES.
And He LOVES you. He loves the snot out of you. Don't try to reason with this love. It's a tidal wave of grace and your insecurities are the last palm trees blowing in the wind. He loves you. He isn't mad at you. He probably should be, but He isn't: Grace.