Monday, 8 December 2008

Wow you look great God

I really like this blog and this post is a short, sweet but important one re the dangers of making God over in our image. I don't think this risk is unique to contextual theology, its a besetting sin of both biblical and systematic versions too. Good prompt though, no matter which side of which fence you sit on, as Anne Lamott says in Bird by Bird, " You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do ..."

Theology is looking in a mirror dimly not a 20/20 reflection of myself. Hey if God's just like me we are all in trouble!


mark said...

I must confess that I think we do all make God in our own image. However much we might object to such an idea, there is simply no other alternative. We cannot speak of God, except through human language and that language is socially and culturally determined. For example, the God of the African American slave was God the liberator. The God of his slave master was God the upholder of law and order. They have both made God in their own image. This is simply inevitable.

I do not object to people making God in their image - I object to the suggestion that the image we have created is 'the real' image. In other words, it is those who suggest that we can somehow articulate God in a non-socially determined way who are the real dangers.

Of course, we can with confidence say - God is a liberator. But, we must do so with the humility that recognises we have not defined God or exhausted God and that one day God may come to us and surprise us as someone who is quite different.

mark said...

Sorry to go on... well I can't be that sorry, because I'm going to go anyway...

To put it another way - maybe McFague is right to be "very self-conscious and blatant" in "crafting of a God to serve our political ends". It is precisely by being upfront about what she is doing that prevents her from suggesting that this is 'the' truth and 'the' God, but actually God as I, a 21st western woman experience him. Because this is all we can ever say about God - this is how I experience him. Then we must listen to each of these perceptions with humble, critical attentiveness.