Friday, June 22, 2007

Bossy



In a recent post, Jon (from "The Wild Things of God") said:

The perception that God is there to do things for us is perhaps the strongest barrier to divine presence.

This reminded me that sometimes in our church worship I feel like all we're doing in prayer and in song is bossing God around. "Hey, do this, make me clean, open my heart, give me strength, hear me, love me, hear us, love us, do this for someone else" - as if we would ever say that to "God" if "God" were actually standing in front of us (so to speak).

This is just an observation, really. I'm not sure what my point is in all this, except to say that the image of God as the Cosmic Vending Machine is still very prominent in church corporate worship. This, of course, is a fine and acceptable first-stage approach to the Divine and yet my hope would be that Christian spiritual communities would continue to provide opportunities for growth and surrender into deeper experiences and understandings of "God."

Jon concludes, "It works for a while, but dropping the demands of our neediness is essential to experience the divine later on in the journey as the soul matures." But don't pay too much mind to this regurgitated post... swing over and read Jon's original post HERE.

6 comments:

kev said...

interesting... so, with god in each of us, when we demand something from another person we're still doing the same thing.

Brother Tadhg said...

Hi

Tommey Tenney says something similar in 'The GodChasers'. He writes:

'The Church is so enamored with the gifts of the Spirit that we don't know the Giver of the gifts. We're having so much fun playing with God's gifts we've even forgotten to thank Him. The best thing we can do...is to lay down His gifts long enough to go and sit in the Father's lap. Seek the Giver, not the gifts. Seek His face, not his hands!'

Powerful stuff huh? Tenney isn't against gifts or asking God for things, but he says, and rightly so, that we've got it all out of proportion!

Brother Tadhg

anonymous julie said...

Kev, you make a really interesting logical connection.

I think the key to all this is the attitude of the person asking - how much expectation or entitlement is there? Is it a genuine request or just part of the prescribed exchange?

(Then it all got tangential so I started a blog post.)

Trev Diesel said...

Thanks for the thoughts everyone... I guess all this stems from us singing this new song with these lyrics. Now, I don't mean this to say this is a bad song, but as we were singing it, I just found the words to be very... needy and bossy:

Lord, hear our cry
Come heal our land
Breath life into these dry and thirsty souls
Lord, hear our prayer
Forgive our sin
And as we call on Your name
Would You make this a place
For Your glory to dwell?

Open the blind eyes
Unlock the deaf ears
Come to Your people
As we draw near
Hear us from heaven
Touch our generation
We are Your people
Crying out in desperation

I agree it's all about the "attitude" behind said-words, but it just struck me funny.

jbmoore said...

Remember the parable about the planting of seed. Spiritual truth (the seed) is sprinkled out to all, but it only rarely takes root and grows to bear fruit. We all think we know God and spiritual truth when we hear it, but few really do, otherwise the human world would be a kinder and gentler and less stressful place. And if you look at where humanity is versus where we were a thousand years ago, we do live for the most part in a kinder and gentler society. You also have to recognize that any church is a hierarchy with a distinct power structure. Early churches were less so and more like communes where everyone shared.(That's the secret as well, it's sharing that counts.) In most churches, one can appeal to the entire congregation or appeal to whoever is running the church for aid. I think it has to be about power. People are beseeching an entity of power for aid, be it human or divine. If they knew that that power was already within them and they knew how to tap into it, maybe they wouldn't need to ask. It would just be given.Sometimes it is. How often have you received a phone call from someone you are thinking about, or something worked out just right at the right time that made what seemed like a major problem into a minor one? But often, those events are only recognized in hindsight and some are completely blind to them. Your questioning shows that you are likely one of those rare plants. The path you are following can only lead to wisdom.

anonymous julie said...

Trev; I know what you mean.