Giving and receiving. Freely you have received. Freely give.
That’s about all I have to say about that.
How perfect is that!
The great thing is…that because of Christ Jesus…we don’t need to try and give God anything. (as if He needs what we have to offer)
But we are free from all that religious stuff (trying to please God by what ‘we do’)…and free to be of service and give to the neighbor. (which most of the time we don’t feel like doing…but we are free to do so)
First time I’ve seen this cartoon. From the title I had thought about it a bit differently although I agree with the concept you have put forth What I thought I’d see was God freely giving and the “church” attaching the strings but then again I am the “church.” I guess I heard a lot of bad theology about God giving gifts if I earned them when He gives gifts to please His giving heart (my new theology).
Very cool cartoon…so true often when we turn to God it is because we want something. God loves us where we are.
Its an interesting cartoon. Probably because it touches on something I’ve been grappling with recently; It seems to me (in my case at least), that the god people presents me offers me an eternal life and relationship with itself, with a single string attached: if you want that relationship to be a pleasent one, you had better conform to what I want you to be. It comes across that way given the way I find sin to be defined and interpreted, and how other religious figures are praised and/or daemonised in accordance to wether they serve god above all else (and putting gods desires above those of other human beings).
It just seems that the abrihamic god that people worship created us, purely to satisfy its whims, designed it so that we suffer if we don’t satisfy his whims, engineers the scenario where we will disobey and not satify its whims, and then makes us suffer for what god orchestrated in the first place.
If anybody can perhaps comment on this I would appreciate it, as its something I haven’t found a satifactory answer for yet.
Dear Araghast – I have spent a great deal of my life trying to come to an understanding of the relationship between God and the people of Israel. Whether the Bible is literally the word of God or just a bunch of myths or something in between, the relationships are indicative of a time, place and culture that we cannot understand from this time, place and culture. In the first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy) God speaks directly to his people – through Adam, Eve, Cain, Noah [the first covenant] Abraham [the second covenant], Moses [the third covenant], David [the fourth covenant]et al. When the nation of Israel is in the desert, God’s presence is constantly with them. They hear him speak to Moses and Aaron (in the form of thunder) and God leads their trek. The covenant relationships between God and His people are similar to the type of relationship that exists between a king and his subjects. In this type of a relationship, the king is benevolent as long as the people do what he tells them to do. Failure to keep in line results in strong punishment in order to return the balance of power to the king. From Joshua to the end of the Hebrew Bible, God speaks directly to His people through Kings, Judges and prophets. But then God’s voice is silent after Malachi, for over 420 years.
God did not abandon His people during this time – the Prophet Jeremiah had told of a “New Covenant” that would be established by Messiah. This new covenant would not be one of King and subject, but one of parent and child. This new covenant was announced by John the Baptist (Jesus cousin) and Jesus made quite sure that every single person that he spoke with understood that this new covenant was one of love. When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus replied “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your mind and all your strength” which is part of the Sh’ma Yisrael, prayed twice a day in the Hebrew community. Jesus had 613 commandments (mitzvot) to pick from, but this one about loving God was, and is still today, the one that Jesus said was most important. But he then went on, adding “and the second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. All of the law and the prophets hang on these.”
The focus on reward and punishment was forever changed by Jesus. Whether we understand God to be a despot, a benevolent dictator or a loving parent is one of the most confounding things about Christianity. But as long as we remember the words of Jesus, and truly seek to love our neighbor — no matter who they are, no matter what they have done, no matter how despised and outcast society makes them to be — then we can begin to understand something that I learned in my catechism class in the first grade (in 1961.) We were asked if we (the children) knew why God made us. I don’t remember what any of the answers were that were given by my fellow first-graders, but I do remember what we were taught. “God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world, and be happy with Him in the next.”
I hope that this has been helpful for you. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to continue the discussion.