It’s Like You’re God — Except Really Different

Not. You.

Jesus turned dead people back into alive people. That gave him, shall we say, a certain amount of authority. When you, too, can raise people from the dead (or, take a stroll across the surface of a lake, or instantly transform tap water into an ambitious yet insouciant little cabernet), then you too will have every reason to expect people to readily accept your truth as theirs. Until you’re so gifted, though, do your best to understand why claiming to speak for God cannot help but sound to a non-Christian as 100% proof that you’re crazy.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Mindakms

    :) I was just reading Mark this morning and thinking about the work Jesus did and how he was received. Interestingly, even though He could and did all those things, he was still labeled crazy and dangerous.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly. (And can you imagine?! You RAISE PEOPLE FROM THE DEAD, and people STILL don’t think you’re God. I’d be, like, “What else can I DO? Wait, wait: check this out.” And then I’d do some jumping jacks in the middle of a lake. After that, I’d just … give up trying to convince anyone who doesn’t believe that I’m not just another huckster.)

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ allegro63

    Ah, brilliant. And if only we did a better job of remembering that. We ain’t God, He doesn’t need for to speak on his behalf, especially when we have a hard time getting the facts straight, we are simply to share our interestingly strange ideas, not force them on others, or condemn when those others look at us as if we suddenly broke out in warts.

  • chellee

    Interesting that this subject is being talked about today. Yesterday I was ill and spent the day in bed and I turned on a “christian” radio station and listened to the lingo on it for a while. There was such repetition of words and phrases that were really difficult to understand what they might actually mean. I feel so bad for all the years I parroted what I had been taught and participated in confusing others and yet feeling like I was “being obedient” by sharing (pushing ) “the truth” with them. The funny thing is…..in retrospect…..I can see that the way I expressed it to them was just as difficult to understand and full of confusing christianese as what I heard. Poor people. I would like to really stop and truly think about everything I say, and to walk like Jesus did….which….as I read it, I read “everyday words” being spoken by him. Just normal everyday words. Simple. So everyone can understand. But, I can see that I’ve used a lot of words and phrases myself that I’ve never stopped to think what they mean. What a wonderful habit for me to learn to pay close attention and thoughtfully express the ideas I believe in. I hope to have a teachable heart and to be a “learner” for the rest of my days. It’s so exciting. I love being expanded and enriched ….and this website is a really REALLY wonderful doorway for my life. I’m really grateful!

    If I didn’t change anything else about my “Christianity

  • Anonymous

    No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.—1John 4:12

    Like I’ve always believed. Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.

    • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ allegro63

      one of my favorite quotes, oh canine one.

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ allegro63

    The more I walk on this spiritual pathway I find myself on the more I find myself wanting my journey to be more then emotions and pretty phrases. I want to know God on more then just that level. I want to have more intellectual insight, but at the same time I am perfectly happy having an “gee, I really don’t know a whole lot” mindset at all. I like what the psalmists say when they try to fathom the expanses of God and of the universe around them and then find themselves almost at a loss for words.

    Maybe stopping and thinking and embarking on a little less talking, is something we should do more of. You know, that whole being reflective, meditative concept that has recently gotten a bad reputation, because it is, you know, that thing that Buddhists do. But who says they should be the only ones, or that meditation is a bad thing?

    • Anonymous

      AGREE AGREE AGREE!!!!

      2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 arms, 2 hands, and 1 mouth= more looking, more listening, more comforting, and less yappin’.

      • StraightGrandmother

        I know I was attracted to the Quaker website I visited today because of a comment a womon posted on the previous topic that her husband was a Quaker. You might want to take a peek over at the Quaker website.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Jelinek/100001030624648 Frank Jelinek

    It seems the pendulum swings from reverent obedience out of fear of Him to I’m a Christian and am forgiven no matter what so I’m just gonna do what I’ve been doing. Either way it’s the thinking is flawed just like us. We can not be perfect. I try to portray God/Jesus/H.S. as our perfect, Dad. There has not been one instance where I could not apply that philosophy. The fear of my father’ discipline should have always been tempered with underlying love and concern for my well being, not anger. I believe THAT is the real reason for the Ten Commandments—the practicers as well as mankinds benefit not to satisfy some supposed Godly sadism. On the other side, my father should have shown me continual affection and affirmation that he loved me . I got neither in the natural but in the supernatural, God puts his arms around me every day and lets me know I am the apple of his eye and, even when being chastised, my tested faith and God let me know it is just for a season and He is always with me. Thank you, God, for your Holy Spirit…ingenious and the devil never saw it coming–LOL! All things work together…

  • Shadsie

    I recall once writing about a character (a winged dog creature) who fell in with a group of people who worshipped her. They kept speaking for her, too, using excuses to go to war – all the while, she would shout at them “I didn’t say that!” and “Stop worshipping me!” – but wasn’t listend to by “her people.” This annoyed her quite a bit.

    Too bad I now think this novel is mediocre and don’t even want to put in the effort to revise it to decency. My fiance’ likes it, so maybe I will – someday. My interest, however, has gone to other, more promising projects.

    I’m just remembering it because, “Yeah, I wrote that scenario years ago – I had that attitude about those who claim to directly, unfallably “speak for God” even then – and that was when I was going to a Southern Baptist church, no less.

    As for me, I make it a point to not even be sure about *reality.* I mean, maybe my waking world is just a dream I’ll wake up from someday. Maybe I’ll find a portal to Narnia in my closet tommorow. I know what I know and I believe what I believe, but I always pause and think “Hey, maybe I’m wrong” (even though I go back to knowing what I know and believing what I do). It’s just how I think. I can only “speak for myself” and I’m not entirely sure of even that!

  • Shadsie

    I recall once writing about a character (a winged dog creature) who fell in with a group of people who worshipped her. They kept speaking for her, too, using excuses to go to war – all the while, she would shout at them “I didn’t say that!” and “Stop worshipping me!” – but wasn’t listend to by “her people.” This annoyed her quite a bit.

    Too bad I now think this novel is mediocre and don’t even want to put in the effort to revise it to decency. My fiance’ likes it, so maybe I will – someday. My interest, however, has gone to other, more promising projects.

    I’m just remembering it because, “Yeah, I wrote that scenario years ago – I had that attitude about those who claim to directly, unfallably “speak for God” even then – and that was when I was going to a Southern Baptist church, no less.

    As for me, I make it a point to not even be sure about *reality.* I mean, maybe my waking world is just a dream I’ll wake up from someday. Maybe I’ll find a portal to Narnia in my closet tommorow. I know what I know and I believe what I believe, but I always pause and think “Hey, maybe I’m wrong” (even though I go back to knowing what I know and believing what I do). It’s just how I think. I can only “speak for myself” and I’m not entirely sure of even that!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ben-Mimic-Peelman/606385719 Ben Mimic Peelman

    This is interesting, in light of my new site, http://www.godsreview.org . Where people can actually “play God” with religion! I don’t pretend to speak for God but I see a need in the community for a bridging solution, somewhere where people can share their evangelism, whether it be Christian, Muslim, or atheist, but also judge the judgers, and actually base criticism on real-life experience, rather than theories. Have a look at the forums, you may have some fun! The best comments/ contributions may be published in the hard-copy magazine.

  • Textjunkie

    Sounds crazy not only to non-Christians but other folks as well… ;)

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    That song I learned in Sunday School as a kid comes to mind: “And they’re know we are Christians by our love, by our love…” Seems like not so much with some folks. We know they’re Christians because they tell us so, right before they tell us all about how everyone but them is going to burn in a lake of fire if we don’t come to Jesus or telling us how our particular brand of Christianity is not where its at, because apparently God told them their was better).

    I don’t understand, I can NEVER understand how people can spew forth hate and still identify as Christians. Just don’t get it.

    • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ allegro63

      “I don’t understand, I can NEVER understand how people can spew forth hate and still identify as Christians. Just don’t get it.”

      The only thing I can guess as to the why, is that despite what some may think Christians are really not that much different then non-Christians when it comes to tamping down control on our emotions and how we act in regards to those emotions. We are still prone to anger, frustration, ignorance, bias, preconceived notions, etc. We carry that load of baggage with us, and it usually takes a bit longer then a single lifetime to unpack all those suitcases of junk and toss it.

      Yeah its probably a lousy excuse, but I have yet to meet a single person who’s “suitcases” had been unpacked, hosed out and put away for good. And don’t you even look at my rail-car of baggage!

    • Marcelo

      That was always one of my favorite church songs. :-)

    • Rin_Tin_Tim

      A bumper sticker once said, “Christians aren’t perfect…only forgiven”. I believe that sentiment to be true no matter how hateful a Christian is. While I was still His enemy, Jesus died for me. I get how people who identify as Christian can still be hateful. They are a work in progress. I wish it wasn’t so…but I get it.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com/ Ric Booth

    The day I realized the ridiculousness of the “What would Jesus do?” self-inquiry was a very freeing day.

    • Don Rappe

      With the figure of Jesus that JS suggests it is ridiculous, but if we take the human nature of the Christ more seriously, I think it is not.


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