Zeus is Alive and Well in the Church


What’s the difference between this portrayal of Zeus and most common portrayals of God?

“Tell me about your Sky Wizard,” they said to me with a smirk.

They were referring to God, of course.  A God they didn’t ascribe to.

I think there was a time in my life where hearing that phrase would have offended me, but it certainly doesn’t anymore.

Because they’re right.  The God that many Christians subscribe to is exactly like some sort of “Sky Wizard.”

They’re granting wishes (though usually people call them prayers).

They’re in control of everything: the weather, your fate, every single outcome of every single instance, pulling levers like some busy 1940’s phone operator.

They’re a trickster: Zeus was known for tricking people.  He was fair and just, but also would throw obstacles in people’s way. In the same way we have people say, “God is testing me!”

I hear it all the time, as if God has nothing better to do than mess with your life.

Blessing people who do the right thing: “God is so good.”  I don’t want to deride people for saying this, but we have to make a distinction between getting what we want and getting something from God. A lot of times I find that God calls me to do exactly what I don’t want to do.

For Christians, God is most clearly seen in the person of Jesus.

Jesus: who would give up everything for the people he loved.

Jesus: who, especially in the Gospel of Mark, doesn’t need to be in control of everything, but remained steady and dedicated to love no matter what happened.

Jesus: who didn’t grant wishes as much as responded to the needs of the world with healing and hope…and called others to do the same.

Jesus: who is not interested in blessing people with things, but forming them into blessings for the world.

Zeus is alive and well in the Christian church.  He spends his days occupied with you in so many ways.

But Jesus?  Well, Jesus is dead.

And resurrected.

And asking you to be focused more on others.

And I sometimes have trouble finding him in places where people of faith dwell.

Seriously. I find this to be a problem.

12 thoughts on “Zeus is Alive and Well in the Church

  1. Jesus is the one who said that anything you ask in his name you will be given. He said that his father would answer prayers positively ( a father would not give his son a snake if asked for a fish), immediately (the mountain doesn’t erode into the sea)and with no “wait” or “what you should have” as modern Christians claim. Was he wrong? As for healing, in that the bible promises baptized believers of JC would be able to heal, and we have pastors gathering for a cancer “heal-a-thon”, why aren’t cancer wards empty? The bible claims that this god is indeed responsible for *everything*, the sparrow’s flight, the weather, life and death. Why should your version of god be considered any more correct than say a predestinationalist?

    • And this is where poetry, metaphor, and wisdom meet literalism.

      Cancer wards are, indeed, too active. There is a disconnect.

      • how do you decide which parts are literal and which aren’t? Why is it that Christians don’t agree on what parts are literal and which are metaphor?

        Now, where are healings happening in cancer wards as you appear to claim?

      • This is your comment. ”
        And this is where poetry, metaphor, and wisdom meet literalism.

        Cancer wards are, indeed, too active. There is a disconnect.”

        I’m not seeing where you agree with my point about how one tells what is literal and what is not. Could you explain?

      • I never claimed cancer hearings. You read my statement incorrectly.

        As for telling the difference between types of literature, you use the same mental tools you use in telling the difference between a sonnet, prose, historical fiction, history, and any other kind or literature. The Bible contains them all…except for the sonnet.

      • Christians claim cancer healings. You may not but if you are a christian, your bible promises that baptized believers should be able to do healing, etc.

        In that each Christian takes different part of the bible literally and figuratively, your claim that you use the same tools as figuring out other kinds of literature doesn’t work. I’ve heard other Christians making the same claim, but they don’t consider the same parts literal as you do, and they don’t consider the same parts figurative. How does one tell which Christian has the correct interpretation?

      • that’s interesting. So there is no more reason to believe your version than anyone else’s? The entire concept of Christianity is worthless since one doesn’t need it to be good, and the rest is just made up nonsense based on opinion? From reading your other posts, you seem to think your version is the correct one and people should believe you. You are a pastor and are teaching people one way. Why, if you admittedly have no idea what the right answer is?

        BTW, I brew beer too. Do you do it by kit or by recipe?

      • I didn’t say there wasn’t “more reason” to follow one path over another. I’m not a relativist.

        But if you want certainty, you won’t find it. And I’m ok with that.

        I’ve done both with beer. Started with kit, as most do, and have done a few recipes. But I’ve been out of it for a few years now.

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