Archive for the 'march 2014' Category

Imaginary gods

March 19th, 2014

If we get our idea of God wrong, then everything else is wrong. Distort God and we distort faith itself. The ancient people addressed in this text lived in a world where many fashioned material images and proclaimed them as divine. Biblical faith reminds them and us that no such images or idols can replace the true and finally invisible God.

Nowadays we are more inclined to pursue false imaginings of God. Our childhood backgrounds, our many life experiences, our basic temperaments, all can shape our concept of God. And this applies even to those who faithfully read their Bibles. It is all too easy to pick and choose bits of the Bible to reinforce these pre-existent notions of God.

So we proclaim the stern moralistic God, the indulgent easy-going God, the hand-wringing wimpish God, the efficiency-expert God. And we may even back this up with Bible verses. When all the time we are simply projecting what is inside us and mixing it up with some partially grasped truths.

How many people have been turned off God by such distortions? How many, who seem to have turned their backs on the Christian faith, have actually rejected a misinterpretation of it? Getting God right is paramount. He made us in his image, we are not to make him in our own.


Alternative histories

March 7th, 2014

There is much debate and even confusion about how God specifically guides us. It is likely that his guidance is not so much in specifics but in the general area of becoming more like Jesus. But there is no doubt he is at work in our lives helping us steer clear of false trails and prompting us to take the right paths. But sometimes we need to be still in our thoughts and our lives, and look for the little things, as these could be the message that we are waiting on.

Little things, such as a bird hovering over us and landing on our head, or the butterfly swiftly fleeting around us to catch our attention as we walk. Sometimes it may be just a phone call with no-one at the other end, just as we were thinking of our loved one, or as we were sad in our thoughts.

It is therefore interesting to speculate on what might have been had we taken different decisions or took certain actions in the past. How would our lives have worked out? We can never know. What appeared to be coincidences or random happenings may not have been quite so accidental. Perhaps God was behind the scenes causing us to do this rather than that.

Such speculation might be interesting but ultimately futile. We can only be sure God had his eye on us and knew our future even when we did not. We can only be sure we are where we are now and it is where we are now that we love and honour him. We might have experienced all sorts of alternative histories but we can never know what they look like.

Our God has guided us, in both obvious and mysterious ways, to this point. He will go on doing so. We might have chosen another life story to live, but our present story is the only one we have. We might wonder what might have happened if things turned out differently, but in the end it is best to simply give thanks for what has happened and to live life to the full in the only life story we have.