We don’t get to make up God. We don’t get to redraw him. We don’t get to dress him up in different clothes. We don’t get to look at only his foot and say “woah… he must look weird”. But, as limited created figures in this reality, our revelation of the creator is flawed. Our flaws should bring us to a place comfortable with saying “this foot is huge. Whatever is connected to it, must be even more wonderful. These blue vans it is wearing makes me want to go out and buy my own pair.”
Our micro revelation should not bring us to a place of defence. “I saw the foot. The foot is all we need to know, and you’re wrong if you talk about the hands”. Although, if the foot brings us to place of awe and selfless love, then maybe the foot of God has done its job.
Of recent times there has been a dialogue running through my head that goes a bit like this. “Worldviews bring people together, as they share a thought world, they unite and get more things done. Wordviews can be destructive, but worldviews can also lay the framework for huge cities being built, or thousands of lives being saved.” And the christian worldview as championed and created by Christ himself is “put your life on the line for the lives of others”. If our interaction with Gods foot, the micro revelation of our tiny human experiences does not lead us to that conclusion, then something is wrong with the revelation. And also, something will come out wrong from our lives.
One of the factors of the spread of AIDs in pockets of Africa can be pointed to the lack of availability of condoms. The christian worldview of large swathes of the United States were “people shouldn’t have sex outside of marriage. We will expect people to do that. And then AIDs will stop spreading” The revelation of Gods toe.
According to a movie director I know, at the beginning of Hollywood influence in the film industry, there were many prominent Christians in the movie making world. They had a chance to be heavily involved in the film industry, but a choice was made on the back of the argument “this industry is dirty, Jesus is clean, we will not involve ourselves”. The revelation of Gods toe nail.
So many moments throughout history that the church, those that represent Jesus on earth, those that are meant to lay down their lives, their comforts, their micro revelations – to promote life and love in a tangible reality – that the church has legged it. Or biffed it.
Our tension needs to sit in the arms of God. A loving God that set up systems that said “hit the mark – this is how you do it” and another system that said “but, when you don’t hit the mark, deal with it and try again”. In the arms of a creative God we are not called to come up with black and white solutions with our own comfort in mind. Even if you think that people should only have sex in marriage, the undeniable fact that people will have sex irrelevant of your beliefs should have promoted an ethic of “condoms should be available to everyone, especially those with disease risks”. Even if a section of the world is dirty, or corrupt, or promoting values different to our own worldview, leaving that place just shows that we are weak or not really into loving people by putting our own lives on the line.
We don’t make up God. We don’t manipulate him into saying things, or being a certain way. But, we also can’t expect ourselves or anyone else to have a perfect revelation of God, because we cannot have such a thing. So to err on the side of grace. A grace already extended to us in relationship, we should also extend this grace to ourselves and others.