Lately I have been scouring around reading some new blogs. It helps me rekindle my passion for what I do here and helps me to gain a fuller perspective on my journey.
So in the last week I have added a new person to my current must-read list, since she (another female – there seems to be a trend developing here) is saying things in such a raw, honest and refreshing way. I just can’t wait to read what she will write next.
She goes by the name Slapdash, and in her most recent post she refers to something I have struggled with for many years. Why is it that we always let God off the hook? We praise him when things go right, and when He seemingly fails to come through for us, we still praise him anyway (or we are encouraged to at least). God is always in a “win-win” situation for Christians… and he can never do any wrong.
Slapdash says it so much better than I can, and minces no words in doing so:
Christians will not blame God when disappointing or unexpected or bad things happen. “It was God’s will.” “I needed to crucify my desires, anyway.” “It was selfish, what I wanted, it wasn’t what God wanted.” “God is trying to teach us something through this suffering.” “We just can’t understand…God’s ways are higher than our ways.”
In other words, God always gets let off the hook. Always, always, always. It’s the assumed stance: God can simply do no wrong.
At risk of offending the Christians that read this blog: isn’t this pretty much the same dynamic you see play out in abusive human relationships?
A woman falls in love with a man. He treats her well, at least at the beginning. She feels loved, she gets attention…she’s getting something out of it. But over time, the abuse begins…
Yet, when a woman is way deep in the relationship, she will defend her man no matter what he’s done: “He just had a bad day.” “You don’t know him the way I do – he is actually very tender and loving.”…
A Christian reading this entry might well be offended that I’ve just compared God to an abuser, and thus immediately dismiss the whole idea. But what I am trying to describe is a dynamic in which Christians repeatedly, consistently, and perpetually try to explain away clearly terrible things that don’t square with their notions of who God is – because those notions of who God is are inviolable. Psychologically, I don’t see any difference from that which happens in an abused woman’s mind. And I am finally in a place where I have stepped outside of my faith and my church to examine who it is I have believed in all these years. To allow for the possibility that maybe my notion of who God is isn’t inviolable.
There’s a whole lot more to this post and I strongly suggest you go read for yourself. It’s an interesting notion and I think she is right: For people armpits deep in the church culture, this concept of seriously calling God into question can be frightening. For paid staff people the idea is unconscionable. But the longer I stand in that place of doubt, I see asking such questions as an indispensable vehicle for finding faith… even if it’s a vastly different faith than the one with which I started.