Why Do So Many People Want God to Be So Small?

After Thanksgrieving (see post on November 25, if this does not make sense to you), I am aware we are heading further into “Holiday Time.”

And I mean deliberately to use “the H Word,” because this is not the time of Christmas only–not a time for Christians only. Happy Holidays!!!

There, I said it. Now strike me dead, Jesus.

Except that of course he will do no such thing.

The dreaded Starbucks holiday cups  news.starbucks.com

The defensiveness, the insecurity of so many Christians–and not only about holiday cups at Starbucks and well-meaning greetings at Walmart and many other retail outlets–belies the confidence and centeredness of the one we profess to follow. I believe it is this same sort of defensiveness and insecurity that causes so many U.S. citizens/residents to fly the national flag everywhere they can.

America love it or leave it

Why is that so many US folks feel such an acute need to repeat how great our nation is? Is it because they do not, deep down, really believe the claim?Do they secretly harbor the fear that we are not perfect (which many of the rest of already know and admit)?

It reminds me of the cynicism among gay men and lesbians when people have a need to broadcast how “straight” they are, and how ugly and awful same-gender-loving people are. Not all homophobes are deep closet cases, but there are enough of them (clergy and legislators and “ex-gays” caught having same-sex sex, e.g.) to keep the cynicism alive.

Certainly, psychologists and others knowledgeable about human behavior, have shown us how we often engage in outward defense against that which we fear, or even know, lurks inside us.

love of God and peace passes all understanding

I am not perfect follower of Jesus, my meditation and prayer life is uneven at best, I fail to love others as we are loved by God, etc., but I do rest in the confidence, the blessed assurance, that God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit, or any of the other ways people know and address the Divine, that no matter what I am loved. . . . and so is everyone else.

Which of course brings us to ISIL, and many other religious fundamentalists in the United States and around the globe, who persist in believing, and acting, on the belief that their way is the only way, that their understanding of God is God.

This makes God very small indeed.

golden calf worship

I suspect God must be used to this by now–the entire sweep of recorded human history is full of people making God in their own image–so I can only imagine the level of rejoicing among the angels when someone, any one, gives that up fantasy and chooses to accept the Big God, the God without limits, the God who encompasses all religions and belief systems, the God who can be, and is, found by many paths.

That is why I am quite comfortable saying “Happy Holidays!” and even wishing others a Happy Hannukah or Kwanzaa and other days, too. If I only proclaim my holiday, I am leaving out part of God. I don’t want to do that.

I love all of God as I know God loves all of me, and all of us and all parts of us. Thank you, God!

And Happy Holidays to You, too!





Published by

Robin Hawley Gorsline

Robin is a poet (claiming this later in life) and Queer Theologian--reflecting a soul of hope and faith and joy and justice/shalom. He is happily married to Dr. Jonathan Lebolt (20 years and counting), the proud parent of three glorious daughters (and grateful to two wonderful sons-in- law and a new one soon!), and the very proud "Papa" to Juna (6) and Annie (3).

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