What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

God is No Southern Gentlemen

One of the images I received about God from my Southern Baptist upbringing was God as (southern) gentleman. God is perfectly polite, I was told, and will not do anything untoward toward us. He is careful and debonair and respectful--holding chairs and doors and always careful to not offend.

This was part of the narrative underpinning of the free-will theology. It's the God who steps back and respects our wishes.

And while I'm less and less certain about what I think about the whole free-will/predestination debate (or even if it matters) I'm absolutely sure of one thing: God is no southern gentlemen.

God is a passionate, jealous lover. He is reckless in his pursuit of us. He absolutely hates, despises, abhors all injustice and the oppression of the poor, weak, marginalized. He hates even more the sin in our lives, the idols that we worship in his place.

God is no southern gentlemen. He is far from poised or polished in his relentless pursuit of all that is his. He sweats and bleeds and cries and dies a gruesome criminal's death to buy back what is his by virtue of creation. It becomes doubly-his after we hand it over to the reign of sin and death through the power of his death and resurrection.

God is no southern gentlemen. He is the great hound of heaven. He tracks after us. He chases us down and corners us into places of despair, emptiness, loneliness, isolation--anything and everything so that we might see that life without him is no life at all.

God is no southern gentlemen. He is too reckless, too playful, too improper for all that. And he will not stop being God in order to fit our neat categories. God is not safe. He is good.

That's something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

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