Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The God Stories of John Piper and Rachel Held Evans

It is getting difficult for me to read Christian writing. I will pull up an article that addresses something I am interested in, but the Christian author will often speak as if God is clearly like this or that.... whereas I find scripture, and life, to bare a different testimony.

Case in point, the latest by Rachel Held Evans. Today, Rachel rebuked John Piper for his tactless and horrid take on the recent tornado tragedy in Oklahoma. She feels he misrepresents God and is making God out to be a cruel and unfeeling bastard. She wants to tell a different story about God. She writes about how a loving God weeps with the people of Oklahoma.

Here is where I have the difficulty.  They are BOTH telling STORIES about God. Those stories are simply the outgrowth of what is going on in their hearts. John Piper IS a cruel and unfeeling bastard. He is a man who is annoyed and impatient with any human being who does not march to his tune. So when he reads scripture, that is the god he sees... and there is plenty of scripture to prove him right.

Rachel, from everything I can tell, is a wonderful soul. Her heart aches for hurting people and she sees the potential for wonder in everyone. When she looks at scripture, she finds a loving god who never gives up on anyone... and there is plenty of scripture to prove her right.

So which is the accurate view of God? I am fond of saying the bible is a Rorschach test if you are religious. What you see when you read it, the parts of it that stir you, the verses you want to live by - they are all just a mirror, showing you what you look like inside.

If I have to live with religion in this world, I would much rather live with Rachel's. However, I can't fault Piper without faulting Rachel. Each are telling us what they think God is like, and stating it as if it were so.

But it isn't so...

God isn't angry or jealous John - you are.

God doesn't think people are precious or valuable Rachel - you do.


Unknown said...

My thoughts exactly. As I read the end of Rachel's piece where she substituted "God" for "love" in 1 Corinthians 13, I thought of taking that very idea and mentioning passages in scripture where God demonstrates quite the opposing attitudes to what is presented by Paul as true love. "God isn't easily angered." Um, have you read the story about the guy who tried to steady the ark and got zapped? "God isn't jealous." Um, God calls himself jealous quite a few times, if I remember correctly.
And so on...

Alice said...

Good points. I think Rachel's God is more accurately the one I see, too.

Chris Mower said...

Good post, amigo. I've noticed that as my views of the world and people have changed through the years that my view of God has also changed.

Don said...

Andrew- I see the picture pretty much the same as you. Mine seems to be a third view of God. It is a view that involves a multitude of questions about God, Ground of All Being, The I Am, or whatever you choose as a name for that essence. I know relatively nothing about God for certain. As I said, more questions than answers. However, in the depths of my being, there is this certainty that something far greater than me is the causation of all we see...and don't see. That is about the existent of my certainty. And, I'm good with that for now.

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