Saturday, September 05, 2009

A Disturbing Revelation

A friend of mine directed me to this video after I posted one of Rob Bell's NOOMA videos on Facebook. The point of the video is obvious from the beginning, all but calling out Rob Bell as a heretic.

After watching the video, I remain a "fan" of Rob Bell, and even more uncertain about my spiritual path at this point in my life. I am not the least bit disturbed by the teachings of Rob Bell, but I am very disturbed by the "truth" being peddled by the person who created this video.

If I am to believe what the critic says, I am to believe that the God who supposedly loved me enough to send His only son to die for me is the same God who doesn't even like me. This God dislikes me so much that the only way He can even bear to look at me is if I am drenched in His son's blood. Apart from that, He finds me vile and horrendous to gaze upon.

I am also to believe that this God has no need for me whatsoever. If this is true, then I have to ask why they heck He bothered creating any of us. Life is hard, this world can be cold and cruel. If God has no need for us, then did He create us so He could observe our struggles and enjoy a chuckle at our expense? Are we just pawns that He moves about on a cosmic chess board?

More than that, is this God really so desperate for adoration that He would create something He cannot even bear to look at, with the fervent hope that we will so love Him (despite His intense dislike for us) that we would willingly serve Him and worship Him? To me, that seems weak and desperate. Is that really God?

Let's talk for a minute about the issue of creating our own reality. I like the idea that my thoughts, words, actions, desires, hopes, dreams, etc...can work together to create a specific reality for my life. I have no desire to be God, but I do think God has placed in each of us the ability to decide what reality we want for our lives, and to make choices that create that reality. By our choices, we create our own personal heaven or hell.

Honestly, I think that saying we have no will of our own but simply follow God's will is a way of absolving ourselves from any responsibility for our lives. We can totally screw up and say, "Well, God orchestrated that because it was His will...". To that, I say, "Bullshit."

Excuse the language, but that is the only thing that comes to mind. Did God really create us to be so weak minded that we must rely on Him to facilitate our choices in order to achieve a result that, ultimately, we had nothing to do with? We're just along for the ride? I don't believe that.

I believe God has given us tremendous creative ability. Jesus said that his disciples would do even greater things than He did. How would that happen unless we were living as though such things were actually possible?

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen." How do those things manifest themselves in our lives? I believe they are made manifest as a result of our fervent belief being reflected in our words and actions. We SPEAK what we believe in faith. We LIVE what we believe in faith, all the while trusting that the thing or circumstance that we are believing for is going to become a reality. Do you think that those things would still become a reality if we did not so fervently believe for them? If we were lax or apathetic toward that thing, would the result be the same as though we pursued it passionately? I don't think so.

I have had my own experience with this. When I left my husband last year, fleeing for my own safety and the safety of my unborn child, I knew very well what Michigan's laws were regarding child custody. I knew that Michigan typically splits custody down the middle, and even a man like my ex-husband would have parenting time with their child.

I knew this, and it terrified me. So, I created a vision board. Of the many things I put on that board, I put a picture of a mother holding her baby. I put it inside a circle, which represented peace and safety for me and my baby. I chose to believe that, against all odds, my baby and I would be kept safe, and by the time our divorce was finalized, my ex-husband would be out of our lives completely.

I focused on the words of Jesus, when He said that with man, certain things are not possible...but with God, all things are possible. Those words indicate a joint relationship. WITH God, all things are possible. We do our part, and God does his. We believe, and live what we are believing with every fiber of our who we are.

During the 40 weeks that I carried my child in my womb, I was reminded almost daily that the courts would decide his fate. I would remind myself that Jesus said all things are possible when we are in partnership with God. I would meditate, quieting my mind and my heart, and envisioning a peaceful existence for my baby and me. Day in and day out, I faced my fear, and I stood on my faith. I used the creative ability God gave me to begin creating the reality I wanted for my baby and me.

My divorce was finalized in March. I have sole custody of my son. My ex-husband moved out of the state, and I have not heard from him in over a year. He has shown no interest in my son. We are safe. My son will not be subjected to abuse. He is living in a climate of love, and he is flourishing, just as I envisioned. The impossible became a reality.

All of this is to say that if God is as He is represented by Rob Bell's critic in the video, then I am not sure if I can align myself with Him. It seems that the God represented there is a tyrant, whom people serve out of fear...not out of love, desire, willingness, or respect.

I grew up believing in the God represented in the video. The God who didn't like me, the God who was always angry with us filthy sinners, the God who was never even remotely happy with me even though He created me. That is the God I grew up with, and it made me very literally want to die.

If that is God, then count me out.

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