I am getting bored with the daily-reading-bible-site I have used for a few years. The bible verses have not changed. The site and the people adding content have not changed. They are as good as the first day I was led to them. I have changed. I want something different to the Gospel lectionary reading plan.
So off to the global sweet shop called Google.
Reading the bible in a year seems popular – although why this is good for me I have no idea. “Our” daily readings seem another option – “our” being a specific brand of belief. And as I looked along the shelves – all these different sweetie jars – all the different sizes and shapes – all the dazzling colours and different textures … I became aware of something … the “why” I am looking.
I want the raw ingredient. I want raw sugar, unadulterated sugar, sugar that is pure, virginal, and sacred. I want God not additives. I want pure and unadulterated God. But we seem to need “our“ patent and copyright all over the bible. We need to present us (and not them). We sell a brand of our belief – and we call it God.
It seems God is too “raw”. We need to differentiate my God from yours.
I journey with God. I grow with God. And whether that be in this or that church (or not), with this or that brand of belief (or not), in this or that geographical location (or not), to this or that manmade agenda (or not) … might matter (or not) to you (if not me).
But do we REALLY believe it matters to God?
This morning I wonder whether an outsider is only that to a patented “God brand name”. I wonder if someone odd in their faith is only “odd” because your/my particular mix of “God additives” makes them gag. I wonder … if we were to focus not on our God processing procedures – but on God (rather than “creeds and beliefs”) – on God (rather than “accepted and rejected” dogmas) – on God (rather than our customised “in” and our “out” club of God) …
Why would I not love you and you love me?
God does. Jesus does. Jesus walked and talked with many who saw Him as an outsider – as odd – as a threat – as dangerous. And yet we love Him.
Someone who was, and is, the raw ingredient. Who cannot be anything else. Who did not compromise in order to be accepted. With all our additives and brand names stripped away. Naked of body – of our accepted norms – who sees only our wardrobe of heart and soul.
I am growing to see myself that way – to see others that way.
And yet I still drag my cultural wardrobe around with me more often than I like. I still yearn my own tasty added e-numbers. I still add a dash of food colouring here and there. And I do get angry-frustrated with those whose version of belief is more important than a raw God – a stripped back Jesus – a pure and unadulterated Holy Spirit.
And I find I use the accepted language of church belief in order to be understood. I think God Soft Hands Jesus did and does as well. But I find the biblical “and this or that was to fulfil this or that prophecy” as biblical side-notes – as more our “additives” – our beliefs.
I see less and less GSHJ proving to me why I should believe in Him. I see less Him selling me the “right beliefs” – I see more and more His raw love without any conditions.
And I hear Him asking me to stop differentiating. I hear Him more and more using only the word “love” … Raw unadulterated and pure love (sorry God – doing it again with different “additives”).
Love is always the answer is not a belief. Love is always the answer is love.
Anything less is my brand name.
And as God Soft Hands Jesus draws me back from shelf upon shelf of different jars in this global biblical sweet-shop … I think it is the seeing – the knowing what I am consuming that is important. The knowing that there are e-numbers, additives, different colours and shapes to this refined sugar I prefer. I think it is realising that sugar is what I crave in our global sweet shop. And when I rename sugar as my brand name … when I make sugar not sugar but my brand-name-factory-product …
That is when I have to have outsiders.
Sugar anyone … ?