This Sunday is Father’s Day. You remembered, right? If you believe the ads, we’re all supposed to run out and buy our dads a tie / polo shirt / hand tool / golf club and wrap it up in manly paper. Along with that, we’re to buy a card thanking him for fixing everything / providing money / putting up with our youthful selves, and promising him a day in the hammock / on the golf course / at the BBQ.
You’ve made your gift list… something for your dad: check. Your father-in-law: check. If you’re a mom, the father of your children: check. If you have grandchildren, don’t forget to include your son or son-in-law. Now you can relax and look forward to the big day!
Well, there’s someone you forgot. Or should I say Someone. Ohhh, right, God is our Father too. Good grief, what do we give God for Father’s Day?
“How can you be a Christian? There’s no way I’d worship a God who is that mean!”
How often have we heard God described as angry, bloodthirsty, or just plain mean? I know several people who refuse to consider Christianity because of God’s unsavory reputation. Is he really that vengeful and vindictive? I think it depends on one’s perspective.
We’re all familiar with the stories of God wiping out pagan tribes. I’ve always assumed that these peoples were so awful, so evil, that the world was better without them. They practiced human sacrifice and worshipped demons disguised as idols. God could have eliminated them by himself (as with Sodom and Gomorrah), but he used the Israelites to cleanse the land so they would understand just how bad sin is. Perhaps I’m missing something, but this is an explanation I can live with.
I screwed up, and now I’ve got to suffer the consequences.
How often do we think that?
Even as believers, we sometimes view God as a strict disciplinarian, making sure we “learn our lesson” each time we fail. But is this an accurate view of God? Is He really the angry and wrathful person we imagine Him to be?
A close friend recently called me, upset and worried about a lack of finances. As a full-time student, he doesn’t have a job, and a long-awaited check was smaller than expected. Car insurance, gas to get to school, and other expenses aren’t going away, and there just won’t be enough money to see him through the end of the term.
His immediate reaction was one I’m very familiar with—where did I go wrong? Did I spend too much money over the summer? Should I have looked harder to get a job? (He’s moving out of state as soon as the semester ends, and has been unable to find a temporary, part-time position.) Is God letting me suffer the consequences of missing His will?
Why would you want to read a book on spirituality written by someone who admits he’s really bad at it?
Right up front, Michael Yaconelli explains that his life is a mess. He describes his Christian walk—“The best I can do is a stumbling, bumbling, clumsy kind of following”—and then asks, “So how can someone unspiritual presume to talk about spirituality? How can someone unholy presume to talk about holiness? It makes no sense.”