My Facebook feed is ablaze with righteous anger and defiant opposition to the god preached by James Dobson and others. (Google his remarks if you want.) The sentiment is rather consistent, at least among my gaggle of mostly mainline Protestant/Episcopal friends:
This is not the God I recognize and not the God I pledged to serve as a minister of the gospel.
It is good and right to shout No to the Dobsons and their distorted god. As I said on Sunday morning:
No, by the way, to the idea that God let this madness happen because we no longer pray in school. Like clockwork, the political and religious pundits have suggested exactly that. Imagine what kind of a god that is. A narcissistic thug who would allow such carnage because we don’t pray in the time and place and manner that god specifies. No.
And if I were ever to find out that that’s the kind of being god is, I think I’d have to renounce my ordination and go sell insurance, because that god and I would be finished.
So, No to that.
But what do we say Yes to?
The answer I’m hearing, and affirming myself, is that God weeps with us in the wake of what happened in Newtown. That God’s was the first heart to break that blood-soaked day.
But that’s not enough. Not near enough.
God is more than the Chief Griever.
So what are we willing to affirm? I hear loud and clear the god we reject. But after Friday, and after so many other tragedies that we can’t even name them all… who is the God that we preach?
This is what I’m thinking about almost constantly.
Here is the thing that has come into focus for me since posting this.
Many people are rejecting Dobson’s comments altogether by saying, “God did not allow this to happen.”
And yet, if God is an omnipotent deity—if God has the capability to intervene in human history and in our individual lives—then technically, God absolutely did allow it to happen. It’s just that we reject that God allowed it to happen for the reasons that Dobson et al put forth.
But God allowed it to happen.
Unless we’re also willing to reject or mitigate God’s omnipotence.
Which is what I’m pondering so strenuously, and have been really since little E died three years ago, and certainly since his brother J died in September.