Hi, my name is Lang and I’m a recovering porn addict. While there’s definitely no singular reason for this, and I accept full responsibility for my decisions, a really BIG reason behind my addiction was lies I believed about God. I think these common and widespread untruths keep us fearful, anxious, and divided, holding us back from living and loving more freely and deeply. Rewriting these stories finds me clean for almost TEN YEARS to the day, free, and more jazzed about Jesus than ever! With that in mind, I’d thought it’d be helpful to go through and discuss some of these untruths.
First, a few notes on where I’m coming from and drawing these conclusions from will be helpful. How do we “know” what God is like? I’ll start by saying I think when it comes to the BIG stuff like the Divine, love, death, the universe, and so on, it’s SUPER helpful to stay humble and hold our conclusions loosely; meaning this blog is me doing the best I can with what I have. Next, I find the Wesleyan Quadrilateral REALLY useful when it comes to talking and thinking about God. John Wesley, leader of the Methodist movement came up with this paradigm some 200+ years ago, saying scripture, reason, experience, and tradition (i.e. community) should all equally come into the conversation when it comes to determining what we say about our Creator. I find this especially important because truly if we use the Bible alone we can make God out to be pretty much anything we want, from beautiful to monstrous. Finally, when it comes to whom God is I start and end with Jesus, as I believe the Christ was the full revelation of the Divine. And I measure these conclusions by the fruits they depict and bring, whatever shows and produces more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control I take to be True, good, and accurate about God (these are the fruits of the Spirit Paul lists in Galatians 5.22-23). With that in mind, here … we … go!
God is Violent and Angry
Somehow culturally we’ve come to view God as Thor. Now, I love Thor in the Marvel movies, but if you’ve seen them you know he solves pretty much EVERYTHING via violence. His go to is to smash and punch it out. Without realizing it, we’ve come to think the same is true of our Source. I’ve heard it said: In the beginning God made us in the Divine image, and we’ve been doing the reverse ever since. My point is humanity (especially the U.S.) has a violence problem. We try and solve wrongs, injustices, and violence via … violence. We have wars to end wars … only they don’t. We have capital punishment to stop violence … only it DOESN’T. We ostracize, imprison, and cut people off when they do us wrong, thinking it’ll make them better … yet this does NOT work. My point here is God is NOT like this. There is 0% violence in the Source of Life and Love. Jesus flat out says Love is the Law, and not only is harming NOT part of loving, Jesus also tells us to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and pray for those who persecute us. Does God ask us to do what God doesn’t do? Of course not!
God Doesn’t Like You
If a parent declared on national television that they don’t like his/her child, how would you view that parent, not very highly, right? Yet, and I didn’t even realize it this starkly until recently, we commonly believe our default destination is hell. We regularly think that because we aren’t perfect, that God disapproves of us. A common Christian narrative is if it weren’t for Jesus dying for our sins, God wouldn’t even be able to look at us or be in our presence. How crazy is that? Here’s what I’ve found to be True and bring SO much life it’s ridiculous: God is wildly and immensely pleased with you. Papa is ESPECIALLY fond of you! I think the “Papa” is extra helpful and could be equally replaced with “Momma”, because we know God is NOT a man. I point that out because Jesus regularly and frequently refers to God as “Aba”. We easily miss the intimacy and beauty of this because it’s usually translated “Father”. While that’s okay, the formality of “Father” misses the closeness, tenderness, and affection that Jesus attributing to our Creator with the name Aba, or “Papa”. This tender, loving image is who the Christ invites us to bring to mind when we think of and relate to our heavenly Parent.
God Uses You
I don’t know about you, but having lived the bulk of my life in Christian circles, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something along the lines of: “I just want God to USE me.” Really? Do you USE your kids? We use tools, NOT people, and the same is true for God. God doesn’t “use” us, God loves us, God relates to us, and God connects to us. I think the Divine does use situations, events, experiences, and the like to help us grow in Light and Love, but does NOT see us as tools to be used. A paradigm shift I’ve found helpful on this topic is: As opposed to using us, our heavenly Parent ENJOYS us.
God is Distant
Do you know the Lord’s Prayer? “Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven …” I mention that because of the first phrase, which names our Creator as being distant, elsewhere, and in “heaven”. The thing is, that’s a mistranslation. This is in the New Testament, which was written in Greek, and the Greek word here is plural, making it “heavens”. In antiquity there were three tiers to “heaven”. The heavens were made of our air/atmosphere, the stars/space, and throne of God. My point here is Jesus literally invites us to say: “Our Papa, who is in the air we breathe, the universe “above”, and in a place where everything is as it should be.” THAT, I think, is a game changer. It’s a reminder that God is WITH us, near us, close to us, and in us at ALL times. God is NEVER distant. Our Creator is a Being of relationship, intimacy, and love, who is always as near and dear to us as our next breath.
I think this is a good place to pause for now. I have several more to write about, so there will at least be one more blog in this series, and maybe more 🙂 What do you think so far?
Grace and peace,