Does Your God Need to Be Fired?

Does Your God Need to Be Fired? April 17, 2013

What if the God that you have given your life to, trusted in, and believed would bless and take care of – what if that God didn’t exist?

I remember in the early days of my experience in the Twelve Steps, I was asked by a long-time member what my God was like. In the Twelve Steps, they have this idea that you can have a higher power of your choosing which, of course as a minister, was marginally troubling before I understood what this belief was actually about. Anyways, this long-time member asked me what my God was like and then asked me in the same breath, “Does your God need to be fired?” The substance of the question was this:

Is your God – the One you were told about as a child, reared on in church, reinforced with in Bible college and expounded upon in sermons – kind, loving, compassionate and gracious ALL the time?

For those of us who come from a conservative Christian background, the God we were reared on, at best, likely had a multiple personality disorder or, at worst, was psychopathic. Here’s why. The God I was raised on was both loving and angry, gracious and punishing, kind and severe. Now some of you might say, “When you allow the Bible to determine what your God is like, that’s the God you find and we are required to accept God like that. We don’t get to choose what God is like.”I completely agree with this idea.

We don’t get to choose what God is like, and I think in the name of being Biblical as opposed to Christian, we have created a God that doesn’t exist. When I look at Jesus, and if I take Jesus at His word when He said, “When you see Me, you see God”; I see a God who is kind, loving, compassionate and gracious, all the time – all the way until the religious powers kill God.

So back to the question we began with: Is it time for you to fire your God? If your God unpredictably vacillates between love and rage – I would suggest you fire your God. If your God swings wildly from kindness to vengeance – I would suggest you fire your God. You get where I am going with this.

If you say, “You are right, let’s fire God!” the question becomes, “What am I left with?” What I can tell you, is what happened to me. I was left with an amazing opportunity to experience the only true God that actually exists. The one that is always loving, kind, compassionate and gracious – especially when I don’t deserve it. I discovered a God who has never been anxious for me or anything, but from a place of perfect peace dwells with me, in me and through me. I have found a God who has never flinched at my frailty or my failings and is determined everyday to waste nothing in my life. I am so thankful I fired my God! And I am truly thankful I found God in that process. Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar? Or not?

I think when become fearless about looking at who we think God is, I don’t believe we are in any risk of losing the actual God. We are only at risk of losing that which doesn’t exist anyways; that being simply a deity based around fearful constructs in our minds, but have nothing to do with the Great I AM – God!

By the way, I think the word “God” sucks. The word “God” is a catch-all for all our best intentioned small-minded crap.

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  • Nick

    I appreciate the motivation and I agree that there are many parts of the Bible that are obviously not of God, but here is my problem with your sweeping statements:

    *Should* God be loving all the time? I’m not sure.

    Some Jews have a tradition of hanging Haman in effigy every Purim. As I understand it many Jews still curse Hitler’s name and celebrate the day of his death. Is it really right to imagine God showing mercy to those murderers of his people? Is it right to tell a victim of sexual abuse that God forgives his/her abuser? Is that not tantamount to siding against the oppressed with their oppressor?

    I shudder to think how an abuse victim who stumbles across your invective here would feel reading about a God who NEVER avenges His people.

    Yes, we can say that God is above all that is able to love more bountifully than we know, but I wonder if that is the same meaningless salve in the face of actual injustice that atheists use to decry theodicy and justice-of-Hell arguments of traditional Christians.

    Believe me, I would love to believe that God’s justice is always of a reconciling and rehabilitative nature. But when I look around me I just cannot get over the feeling in my gut that a healthy sense of vengeance (not “eye for an eye” or taking matters into one’s own hands, but the sense that there really *are* some people so monstrous as to be unforgivable by any being which is really and truly good) is a vital part of morality.

    • Nick

      Sorry for the garbled sentences. I hope it is still understandable.

  • anon

    I am a Muslim—and to me God’s Justice is tempered with Compassion and Mercy and his Compassion and Mercy are tempered with Justice. This creates a harmony and balance in our concept of God rather than an “either/or” binary mode of thinking……………..

  • I think if anyone was “that guy” – one who was, as you put it, someone “so monstrous as to be unforgivable” – wouldn’t it be Paul? He killed Christians for sport! Granted, he didn’t do it on the level of someone like Hitler or Saddam Hussein, but it’s always been about what’s in our hearts. Jesus was clear on that, I think. I also think that if the Paul of old had the weapons that modern tyrants had at their disposal, he would’ve done the same thing.

    I say all that to say that I see a recurring theme throughout the Bible – that NO ONE is beyond redemption. People did some really stupid stuff throughout both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, but they were ultimately still loved.

    Is it something that we tell a holocaust survivor, or the family of a murder victim? If you don’t know the people in question, then have enough respect to keep your mouth shut. But if they are someone who is close to you, someone who respects your opinion, then there may be a time where it has to be said that they need to forgive and move on. If we see that the hatred for the offender is consuming them, we have an obligation as a friend/family member to intervene.

    If the presence of God is among us when we are loving others, then I think our focus should be on us, and not “how God feels about it”. To me, that is useless speculation, and ultimately reflects an objectification of God. But that is a conversation for another day.

    In the end, everyone must work out their own salvation, and not every situation is the same. The law treats us as if we are not unique, meaning that every situation has the same conditioned response. I think that’s why Christ abolished it. Love works on a completely different level.

  • The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:6-7)


    • Thanks Sean. Having walked a very similar path in my life before God, I certainly resonate with your challenge that we allow “God” to be the “I am” revealing God’s self especially through Jesus. I have yet to meet another human as exciting and as bravely loving as Jesus, and I am thrilled that this reflects the character of God. Without taking any of that away, I do think that “love” is a stubborn commitment to the best for others, and sometimes we cannot help but be angry if we really love. If “God” is not angry about all of the injustice in the world: recruiting children as soldiers and sex-slaves, bombing innocent people all over the world, torture at Abu-Greb, etc.; then God is not loving. But, that is certainly not the kind of anger that doesn’t still want to redeem the perpetrators as well – thankfully since we all are involved in being perpetrators at times. Maybe, the Psalmist captured the relationship between genuine committed love and anger pretty well in these words that most loving parents may resonate with: “For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime.” (Psalm 30:5). Again, thanks and may “I AM” bless you richly.

  • mroge

    I love this! Thank you. I do think that there will be some kind of reckoning, but to think that God hates us because we are not perfect is wrong, a projection of our own pettiness. We create God in our own image. No crime that we could ever commit should result in eternal damnation. I believe that everyone will be redeemed at some point. Imagine if we took our own children and subjected them to eternal torture simply because they did something wrong? Punishment is for correction, not vengence. I also like the fact that you are describing a true spiritual experience. So many people think they know God by memorizing the bible and having a “correct” theology. But the only way to know God is from personal experience. The rest is just window dressing.