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Is God Aloof?

Is God Aloof? January 22, 2015

“What are we to do with a God who hides?”

This is the question Tony Kriz asks in his book Aloof, and I must share that my immediate and visceral reaction to the question was:

Wait, God doesn’t hide. Not in my life.

Not anymore.

The God I use to know, pre-Post-Traumatic Church Syndrome, that God was absent all the time. I was constantly playing cosmic hide ‘n seek with a companion who had the power of invisibility. (Not a fair game, by the way.)

Our church was charismatic, which basically means that is you weren’t feeling God—in your body, in your emotions, in your mind—there was something wrong with YOU. I mean, if God was really touching your heart in worship, you’d better believe your eyes would be watering. As a result, I was constantly on the lookout for that ooey-gooey Jesus who would be my boyfriend/best friend, waiting for him to “Pick me! Pick me!”

It was the emotional equivalent of waiting to be given a rose on The Bachelor.

I’d stand there in church, watching everyone else fall down under the power of the Holy Spirit, weep, dance, and I’d wonder—where the hell is my rose? And then the service would be over and I’d be left wondering…what is wrong with me? Is my skirt too short, causing my brother to stumble? Did I forget to confess a sin of omission?

I was looking for the God who burned bushes and sent rainbows and—let’s be honest—supernaturally slaughtered who people groups. (Which was always confusing because, why kill some and raise others?) I rarely, if ever, saw this God. He–and of course it was always, always a HE– was the very definition of Aloof.

Though I felt God back then, in small ways and quiet moments, I didn’t think that was good enough. Because I didn’t see the God of lightning bolts and floods, miracles and wonders, I didn’t think I was good enough.

Fast-forward a decade or so…

Now I see God everywhere, in everything beautiful: from the smile of a grocery store clerk on a rough day to my niece’s laughter, the way my husband looks at me, maybe even in a well-deserved glass of wine with a dear friend. I see God when I walk the labyrinth near my house, when sunlight hits my face

I hear God in the voice of my dearest friends. I feel God when my puppy slobbers on me. I touch God when I sit here typing away on this old laptop.

For me, God is less person and more gravity: Ever-present, always working in ways so subtle and regular that it can be easy to forget to notice.

So if God feels Aloof today, stop looking for God and start looking for love and beauty, anywhere and everywhere they may be found.

And I think you’ll discover that you aren’t looking for God; God is looking at you.

 

This post is part of a Patheos roundtable discussion of Aloof, and you can find more here: http://www.patheos.com/Books/Book-Club/Tony-Kriz-Aloof.html. While I haven’t read the entire book yet, what I have read is beautiful and courageous. Tony asks the tough questions and gives voice to fears we are often afraid to speak. Highly recommended.

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