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There is so much horror in the world, many terrors for people to fear. Yet so many people live every moment of their lives with a sincere conviction that God is the greatest terrorist of them all.
It relativizes every other fear—because whatever horrors may come, none are so fearsome as the monster who lies in wait on the other side of the veil. ⁣
The bloodlust of the shooter—youthful acne still on his face, hate and angst running hot in his blood—may have been satiated by the bodies under the seasick florescent lights in the store.
Maybe he got something of the attention he felt like he was somehow denied, & the rage is out when he wakes up, like a campfire from the night before. We might even imagine him living long enough to be tormented by the memories in his dreams, coming to regret it.
But the anger & adolescent revenge fantasy of the punk ass kid doesn’t hold a candle to the one some call GOD, who burns with a wrath that no amount of bodies will ever satisfy, no matter how long they suffer.
He is a petty, petulant deity who will slow roast you for millions of years if you do not pray the prayer after the preacher on tv.
He will throwing you in the same pile with Hitler & Jews who didn’t become Christians & gays & liberals & the people who don’t honor the exit one row at a time rule on an airplane & cut in front of you (okay maybe they deserve it)—don’t you know they are all they same to him?
That may sound mean to your tiny mind, wanting to make distinctions between them. But in the wisdom of the Almighty, there is only one category for them all: extra crispy. ⁣
You wish you’d only faced the wrath of the brat who spent one too many nights eating Doritos & jacking off while reading the underground websites of white nationalists—his bloodlust will not go on forever.
Give me Ida Amin or Charles Mansen or Dylan Roof...Jesus! Anybody but the one some call “Father.” For his wrath will not be satisfied in one billion years; two billion won’t even be a start. He sees the fire dance on the bodies of the damned gleam in his eyes & he shouts, “MORE!”
And why is he so angry, exactly? Well he’s all about personal glory you see...& it’s not vanity if you’re a deity, not narcissism if you’re a god. Oh how he loves to hear his name, yes you better say his name, you better get his name right.
Because he’s like a scorned middle school boyfriend refreshing his social media feed checking for a mention every 3 seconds—needing the endorphins & the adrenaline rush, needs to be needed, needs to be seen. Oh yes they WILL know my name...oh they WILL say my name.
13.5 billion years of creation unfurled before him as a private show, but nothing makes him as angry as the profanity on tv nowadays—& honestly have you seen the way women are dressing!? He sulks & stews as he paces streets of gold, nursing every sleight, rehearsing every grudge.
They have not paid him ceremonial homage in public meetings. The eyes of Zeus (er, GOD) are full of thunder: “When I get back—I’LL SHOW ‘EM.” Every knee will bow & every tongue confess, alright—whimpering like frightened children when he holds his sword to their pencil necks.
You read this, & it does not settle in your stomach, & the truth flickers in your mind like an old film reel, the truth you’ve always known in your bones but not always known how to say: that God is not like, has never been like this.
That there is benevolence that holds all things together, not malevolence in the center of the mystery. That Love is God’s name, the name you’ve always known. And that the Son of Love came to save us from the tyranny of our violence & our greed, not to save us from his Abba.
Yes that love is hot, that love is fire; & the flame of it is scalding when your heart is cold with indifference. But read the pages of the prophets, & see what has always animated that flame: God was never angry because he didn’t have enough songs or enough abstract “glory.”
That God has never brooded in rage because people are broken & addicted & bumbling. That God didn’t lose sleep because the temple wasn’t tidy enough, or because people cussed too much.

No, the relentless drumbeat of the prophets was this, & only this: do justice.
Stop exploiting the poor among you. Stop trampling the needy. As I cared for you when you were enslaved, care for the weak among you now—the oppressed, the widow, the marginalized, the abused. Love them as I have loved you.
How many times were we told outright, that burnt offerings & sacrifices were never what this God wanted, that our religious festivals & fasts were actually obnoxious to this God?
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58.6)

This God is not looking for you to barter with him, by offering to lengthen your “quiet time.”
What this God wants, & has always wanted, was not longer prayers, but wider hearts. This God is not looking for you to clean up your act, but clear space at your table for your neighbor.
It is not sacrifice that God is looking for, but for you to lay down your weapons & walk the way of the vulnerable—the way of the cross. Tenacity is not required of you. Tenderness is. Piety is not required of you. Only to live justly, love mercy, walk humbly before your God.
Some part of you recognizes that the God described toward the end is what God looks like you—because that is what Jesus looks like. And spoiler alert: Christ is God, Christ has always been God, Christ will always be God, & there are no others beside this God.
Why does one description ring hollow & false, while one leaps in your belly—even if some of the particulars aren’t exactly sorted in your head? I’d contend that’s not simply because it’s what you want to believe, or would like to believe.
Rather the Spirit of God bears witness, to the truth of who God is, & has always been.

God is beautiful, & calls you beautiful (even in the un-lovely places)...& calls you out now from the loud noise of hatred & rage, to follow Jesus in a beautiful way.
For some of you, the god you’ve been worshiping is worse than the devil. And I can’t think of any more happy, liberating invitation to all of us who have nursed lies that impugn the good character of God—than to REPENT (to change your mind).
Your life doesn’t need to be changed, nearly so much as the way you see God—though if you even glimpse for a moment the way God smiles when looking at you, it will change your life, indeed! God hovers over you with delight, singing over you, binding every wound.
To follow is only to say yes to this fierce mercy, & then to go & do likewise, in the world around you.

This, & only this.
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