“God Saw What You Did.”
One big threat.
Encapsulating so much of what drives people away from religion in general and Christianity in particular.
Shame. Blame. Judgement.
Consider the doctrine of God implied by it: This is a deity who watches you. This implies distance, for to watch someone you need to be at a distance from them. There is power in that. Menacing power. This is a God who sees you but you can’t see him.
And yes, I think this God is a “him.” A male voyeur God lying in wait, watching, following you. *shudder*
(FYI, I think the wording of this sign is far more problematic than the annoying deistic theism implied by the Bette Midler song “From a Distance.”)
Consider the theological anthropology implied by it: You and I are humans who do stuff that is watched by God. If it’s good, then what? If it’s bad, then what? Both options are problematic.On the one hand, if you do something magnificent to serve your neighbor and contribute to your community and God is watching you, presumably you get some kind of reward? Or at least you make “him” happy?
On the other hand, if you do something terrible to violate the dignity of another person or bring harm to your community and God is watching you, presumably you get punished? Or at least you make “him” mad?
In both cases, a transactional theology is fully operational. No room for grace, no accounting for the suffering of innocents (i.e., bad theodicy), no space for forgiveness. Works-righteousness, deeds weighed in the balance.
A unidirectional peeping God passively watching you, judging you, waiting for … God knows what.
I chose not to take and share a picture of the church’s sign because it is a sentiment and theology not unique to this particular faith community. Instead, enjoy my own sidewalk-chalk drawing of a much better theology of God.