It’s really a thing. It’s not only the title of a pretty cool book, The Christian Atheist, but it is a whole school of thought. Probably a small one, but still, it warrants a Wikipedia page and a few other websites. (In case you were wondering, there is no Wikipedia for God, Scrubs and Work boots.)
I quote: “Thomas Ogletree, Frederick Marquand Professor of Ethics and Religious Studies at Yale Divinity School, lists these four common beliefs:
The assertion of the unreality of God for our age, including the understandings of God which have been a part of traditional Christian theology
The insistence upon coming to grips with contemporary culture as a necessary feature of responsible theological work
Varying degrees and forms of alienation from the church as it is now constituted
Recognition of the centrality of the person of Jesus in theological reflection.”
I would love to dig into each belief and debate the fallacy and logic involved. And if I’m stuck for a topic next time, I might.
But if I attempt to unscrew my Pharisee Hat (…Shawl… Yarmulke?) for a second, don’t we live like that all the time? (Denise and I have been talking about this for weeks, so expect a podcast about it soon.) Yeah, there have been times in my life when I took some scary steps of faith. But there have been a lot of other times when I would ask The Almighty, El Shaddai, The Creator of Everything to intervene in my life, and then proceed to act as if I was all alone in the universe. I will stress out about work, family, kids, Donald Trump, all manner of evil both real and imagined.
Sure, I may pay lip service to Jesus, but then work/stress out like I fully expect him not to show up. Why? Because deep down I don’t expect him to show up. That’s harsh for me to write, and I am sorely tempted to delete it. But, if someone says they are trying to eat healthy, and their hands are covered in Cheetos dust, I’m going to believe the Cheetos dust over their words.
I’ve had Cheetos dust scattered around the office, around my kids, wife, Donald Trump, the church, The Church, The United States of America, this podcast/blog, the ever multiplying number of cats on my front porch.
What’s my cure?
Scripture. Actually taking time to have a little talk with Jesus.
Here is my usual Cheetos dust cure: Matthew 6:30-33
Stressing out about our past/present/future circumstances is not new to our age. The temptation to control our lives is what tempted Adam & Eve, and it continues on to today. Is God holding out on me? Can God take care of me? Does He care? Is He there?
Jesus answers us. Gently, with Love. If El Shaddai takes care of grass, flowers, and birds, why wouldn’t he take care of you? The Almighty knows we need a place to sleep, some food and a new pair of shoes. All we are asked to do is put God first in our life; really seek after His Heart, His Character as our main objective, and everything we need will be given to us. Maybe not all we want, but all we need.
If & when we believe those verses (and others like them), there is a joy and peace that passes all understanding. Life becomes easy. Really and truly.
At least until the next time I look down and see Cheetos dust covering my fingers.