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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

God is the Subject of the Sentence

Over the years I have developed a rather simple way to know if I am interested in reading about what you have to say about God, the Bible, Church, worship, faith, religion, and stuff like that. I look for sentences that have God as the subject,

To remind us of our grammar, here is an example: God is love. (God is the subject of that sentence.) Many people who write about religion these days are fond of making God the object of that sentence: Love is God. I am not interested much in what "love" is, but I am interested in who God "is." So for me, if you can make God the subject of your sentences, you have a much better chance of me reading your stuff or listening to you speak.

Of course. it is hard to write and speak about God, and that's why I assume so few people do it. I mean, how do you talk about "God" in any way that is meaningful or useful or even entertaining? (This is the main reason I cannot stand to listen to Christian pop radio and praise music. They tell me nothing about God, but only about people who like to worship God. And apparently, people who like to worship have trouble doing so, but they really, really, really want God to love them anyhow. Good for them.)

Many of my friends who write about religion for a living and profession are not immune from putting God as the object of sentences rather than the subject. Glance at any page of religion on a website, and you will find much about what people have to do to get their act together to be better Christians, but very little about what God is doing these days. And naturally, when someone does get around to talking about what God is doing, God is smiting some "enemy" or perceived ill in the world. If we used the writers of Christian religion on the internet as an itinerary of God's day it would be something like: listen to people whine but love them anyway, and destroy my enemies (preferably before lunch, if you can squeeze it in O Might Preserver of all things I like!)

I'm still waiting for the Christian theologian who has the guts to write like Etta James sang. There's nothing wrong with writing about people, but it's not theology. Theology is writing about God. And to do that God has to be the subject of sentence every now and then. God changes lives. God lives with us, tabernacles with us, and opens our hearts to love. Jesus of Nazareth died and was resurrected to free us from the traps we place ourselves in almost every moment of our lives. The Spirit of God seeks to move us into ever-widening circles of grace. God does amazing things.

And people? It seems we have a couple of options--we can laugh or we can cry. Here's Etta James.

May your tables be full and your conversations be true.

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