“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 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.