Religion? No thanks

If it wasn’t for Jesus, there’s no way I’d believe in God.

Well, maybe I’d believe in Him: I might even be scared  of Him, but I certainly wouldn’t trust Him.

Here’s why: I think he’d look like me. Emerson puts it like this:

‘The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal.  The god of the crusaders will be a crusader and the god of the merchants a merchant’.

When I think about a me-shaped God, it brings me out in a cold sweat.  He’s a slave-driver.  He’s never  satisfied.  He make everything either sinful or high in cholesterol. He’s got a checklist of stuff for me to do and it’s as long as His arm, (which, being God-sized, makes it very long indeed). He says things like this:

‘Pull yourself together’

‘So far today, you’re doing okay – but watch your step! One false move and it’s game over’

‘I’m watching you’

‘If it isn’t painful, it’s not My Will’

‘You’re not good enough – try harder’

‘At least make an effort to look acceptable, even though it’s not true’.

‘Keep it together.  Keep your head down.  Keep The rules’

This God doesn’t like me, let alone want me. He’s scary and He’s got a big medieval stick studded with spikes, with names like sin and hell and law. He’s waving it over my head – and it casts a shadow over everything I do.

If this is God, then there’s only one thing for it: run my friend, run for the hills.  Have nothing to do with Him.  Sure, do your best… but enjoy life in the present and stay out of church. Seriously – why would you want to hang around with other prisoners?

If God’s like this, then Christianity is the worst news ever. You’ll never be good enough and you’ll kill yourself trying.


What if God’s not like this?

What if He’s more than a bigger version of Me?

What if He’s who He says He is: if He is Jesus –

– the most loving, passionate, grace-filled, generous, beautiful Person who ever walked on earth

– the God who sees us as we are and is properly, fully thrilled with us

– the God who doesn’t want our performances or our masks or our stuff, but who gives Himself to us…

If that’s God, then I can trust Him. I want to spend time with Him. He gives me hope instead of despair. He sets me free from slavery to self and instead of Him looking like me, I can start to look a little more like Him.

– a  God who blows everything else out of the water

– a God who meets the biggest hungers and says, ‘wait – there’s more’.

6 thoughts on “Religion? No thanks

  1. Love this Emma. Yes, sometimes friends ask me things like “what would you do if on judgement day you are faced with this or that god… and it isn’t Jesus… what would you do then???” I have to reply that, I would prefer to be thrown into hell or wherever the ‘outside’ is… to be with Jesus… or with those who follow Jesus… or simply to live with the memory of Jesus. These terrible ‘religious’ gods are such a nightmare that whatever ‘heaven’ they had to offer would be nothing like the life and personality of Jesus with the Father and the Spirit. I don’t want any heaven or paradise or happy hunting grounds or valhalla or any nirvana that isn’t totally defined by Jesus. These ‘religious’ gods can keep whatever tripe they are offering – it’s Jesus all the way or nothing. I can’t even believe in these invisible, undetectable gods that never do anything, never actually show up, never speak for themselves. Some of them are supposed to be oh so powerful and oh so awesome… yet they spend their whole time demanding that everybody serves them or they think they are too glorious to have anything to do with mere creatures. Whatever! Those ‘gods’ are welcome to their isolation… and hopefully will stay there because if they have spent all eternity contemplating their divine navels they will be so anti-social and dysfunctional that they would make terrible company. It’s got to be Jesus… who is the only God to actually appear in real history: He loves us and serves us… and He is more than we could ever dream or imagine. Glory to Him!

  2. Paul wrote:”It’s got to be Jesus… ”

    For all the reasons you’ve listed, it’s good to know that Jesus is the one who has promised that He is preparing a place for us, that where He is, we may be also. Jesus alone truly defines the nature and intent of our Father – that we are not alone, that we are deeply loved and that this love will give eternal definition to all He has made. If that isn’t worthy of our attention, then the universe deserves to end here and now.

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