WE NEED SOME BIG GOD THEOLOGY!
In a world with so much injustice, suffering, and legitimate sorrow it takes a “Big God” theology to help us through the day. There is and should be real lament for the pain of the world, and then there is a whole nasty industry which shades guilt upon everyone who hasn’t posted yet, or denounced someone yet. I am braced by how many are absolutist about how I should feel and react to all kinds of incidents on the news and all kinds of statements from Presidents to activist teenagers. I am alarmed at the new legalism and the sweeping indictments-not simply against real acts of oppression, but- against those who haven’t said it right, and those who have done mercy wrong, or took the wrong pictures when they did it. I wish I had meme or some kind of copyrighted symbol that meant, “stop the bullshit!”
People seem to be moving from cultural observers to prophets, and from prophets to “those who would be kings,” (pretenders to the throne.) Prophets give warnings and truth, kings make pronouncements and judgments. Prophets at least sound like they too fear God and care about us, these kings just condemn.
It seems to me that Big God theology does several things:
- It keeps us in our place, knowing we are all fallen, sinful, broken and dangerous to others without his mercy and grace. In short, it keeps us humble.
- It gives us perspective by helping us to understand the long dark history of evil, the corruption of humanity, the vileness of violence and inhumane treatment toward others, and the absolute condemnation of this in us humans by a holy God.
- It exposes our common humanity, not simply as potential or realized victims, but as possible oppressors. Thus, it gives us a multi-faceted
- It gives us space and a philosophical view rather than one of fear and panic over the immediacy of events. In short, it is not just about me or mine. Did you think that shooting was the height of injustice, or the outcome of that trial, or the failure of justice to be as complete as we wish? How many Jews were killed in the holocaust, how many African died in the middle-passage, how many Russian serfs were killed by Stalin, how many peasants were killed by Mao, how many by Pol Pot, Idi Amin, by the Serbs, how many died in Rwanda? There is enough blood in this bucket we call earth.
- Big God theology gives us proportionate anger without losing touch with the One who controls and directs the universe. A proportionate righteous anger is good and a necessary and correct response against evil,. Only a holy God can give us the ground to discern what is justice and what is not, what is right and what is not. Otherwise everything is tribal or seems like nonsense and chaos, the fear of which pushes us to seek to control outcomes- and this results in a rage of frustration. We are not ultimately in control (which gives us some degree of mental freedom), though we are yet active agents (which gives us responsibility) that can affect life and society with truth, love, and protection in some proximate sense.
- Big God theology gives us hope without fatalism. We are not given the revelation of God to make us passive in a world of injustice. If God didn’t care about the world, or want to change people, or to bring in the Kingdom of God he would never have sent Jesus or given us the Gospel to preach. If the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit then this must mean more than a personal morality or a personal comfort. These wonderful attributes of the kingdom are indeed weaponized against the forces of darkness. Hope is hope because it doesn’t disappoint us, though in the crucible of suffering we sometimes feel we hope in vain.
- Big God theology reminds us that Jesus is the one true King! If the way we treat people, (from our enemies to those we simply despise because they haven’t said or done the right thing, or have failed to convince us they are “woke” or part of the movement), is not filled with the Spirit of Jesus then we are not submissive to the one true King, but are acting as usurpers. In all our anger against all that sucks in the world can’t we still be loving and meek like the One whose yoke we have taken? I wish I had a meme or a copyrighted symbol that meant, and was understood to mean, “who the hell do you think you are?”
One last point… big God theology is one we only have or believe in faith, and it certainly takes faith in the face of either personalized, systemic, or societal evil.