Monday, October 13, 2014

What it's .... er, He's all about

One of the ladies in the worship team with me was kicking back with me after practice one day, and we were talking about upbeat songs. She suggested the hokey pokey. "Well, it's upbeat right?" 

I thought I'd have a little fun. "What if the hokey pokey really IS what it's all about?" ... of course she laughed. And before I knew it, she was saying that knowing Jesus is really what it's all about.

What followed was some rather bad rhyming and free-association (by me, I must say). 

Afterward, I got to thinking and realized that the word "about" is one of the words that can cause a lot of confusion amongst believers. A misplaced "about" is - in my opinion - the difference between religion (which is humans trying to get God not to be mad at them or take away His blessing from them, maybe even to be nice to them) and relationship with God (which is His initiative, Him reaching out to us to show us that we are accepted in His sight!)

Here's the misplaced "about" that I mean, the one that starts when we are children and we go to kids' church or Sunday school or whatever you want to call your children's program. 

Question (asked by the teacher): "Why do we go to church?"

Answer (shouted by all the kids): "To know about God!"

See? it's a misplaced "about". It doesn't need to be there.

The answer is, "To know God!" 

No about.

Of course the question is a little suspect too (do we REALLY have to go to church to know God?), but that is another blog post for another time.

The "about" doesn't stop there, however. As we grow, as we become adults, knowing "about" God translates into trying to figure out what He wants so that our world makes sense.  So that we get our prayers answered. So that ... basically ... He'll give us what we want. 

And then when He doesn't do what we expect, when He does or allows something that we can't understand, that doesn't fit with our preconceived notions of what we know "about" Him, we wonder if He really cares about us. After all, we've done what He wanted; He should do what WE ask. Every time. Without question. Right? 

Photo "Interior With White Cubes"
courtesy of sumetho at
Excuse me, but that's not a relationship. That's religion - that's the classic "God-in-a-box" that's comfortable, predictable, and ... and powerless. 

And that's not the real God, by the way. That's a vending machine.

Listen. The real God is an intense, passionate, and powerful Person. He designed us for relationship, specifically relationship with HIM ... and in spite of our inability to make it happen, HE made it possible - through Jesus, through His sacrifice on the cross and all that means (including forgiveness from ALL of our mess-ups: past, present and future!!) - to be in an intense, passionate, and powerful relationship with Him. One that is life-changing. One that fills us up so full that we overflow into the lives of those around us. One that shows how much He loves and accepts us.

And that's what HE's all about.

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