– ryan james ross
In my reading of a great book this last week, The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith, I kept thinking of this pretty frightening question;
“Do I need to re-shape God?”
It sounds pretty arrogant on the front end for a human to think that they shape the God that made them, but for the most part, our concept of God is shaped far more by our world and the people around us than by what is actually written in scripture. Depending on one’s life journey and the stories about God they’ve received along the way, they may come up with all sorts of understandings about who God is and what God is like. Our concept of how God sees us and what He wants from us is shaped by a thousand different and often conflicting messages that we receive throughout our life. So what does God end up being shaped like? Usually a mix of culture, fallacies, crazy superstitions, and bible truths all mixed up together.
We end up with a ‘mess god’.
When Jesus showed up on the scene He began telling a lot of stories to reveal the character of God. His stories of God conflicted with their current concepts, and not everyone liked the picture of God he was painting. There were great misconceptions about God AND life that needed reshaping, and Jesus chose stories as His primary tool to fix things.
“We are shaped by our stories. In fact, our stories, once in place, determine much of our behavior without regard to their accuracy or helpfulness. Once these stories [about life, and love, and about who we are and who God is] are stored in our minds, they stay there largely unchallenged until we die. And here is the main point: These narratives are running (and often ruining) our lives. It is crucial to get the right stories.”
Were you ever told that “God helps those who help themselves”? It’s not in the Bible despite someone telling you it was a verse. “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is also not in there no matter how many times your mom used it to get you to wash your hands.Yes, parental-bad-theological-leverage is real! Those are just a couple examples of fallacies that may damage your understanding of who God is. The largest fallacy amongst us is that you have to earn God’s love and favor. That God saves his love and grace for people who make an effort to be good… this narrative will mess you up, if it hasn’t already.
So how can we get the right concept of God?
We need new stories (and Jesus gave us some).
Here is the challenge that we at Uncommon [good] are going through together…
First, try to empty your mind of who you think God is (you can’t truly do this, but try it out just for the sake of learning here). Now, with an empty mind, read one of the gospels (or all four) and let Jesus shape your concept of God from scratch once again. Specifically, listen to his stories that teach about God’s character. What picture of God does he paint? Do you see a God of grace or a God of judgment? Do you see a God of love and forgiveness more than a God of anger and resentment? Does Jesus paint God with more hope, healing, or hell?
Open the gospels once again.
And with a new eye…
let Jesus [God incarnate] reshape God for you.
We Have Big News!
We have decided to take the next step in our relationship.
You know what that means: this week Uncommon [good] is gonna be Facebook official!
While many of you already discovered our Instagram shennanigans, we haven’t truly made our Uncommon [good] presence known publicly…yet.
But that all changes TOMORROW (Friday if you’re slow to open your emails)!
Our hope is that our social media channels become a place that allows our Uncommon [community] to feel connected in the absence of a physical gathering space. We plan to share videos, devotionals, prayer requests as well as real time updates of the day-to-dayness of our Uncommon [journey]. More than that, we hope to create a space on Facebook and Instagram where everyone can join in our ongoing conversations about life and faith and citrus.
Sharing is Caring…
We are excited to take this goodness public, AND, we want to invite you to take part in our social media campaign! We will be pushing our Facebook page tomorrow (Friday, February 2nd) and we would love for our Uncommon [community] to share the love by liking our page and sharing it with your friends!
It’s a really simple and tangible way that we can ALL participate in the work of Uncommon [good] this week! We thank you in advance for your clicks, shares, comments, and contagiously-joyful banter : )
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