Tony Jones has challenged progressive bloggers to make definitive statements about God. I wanted to know whether I fit into the category of “progressive” for purposes of his challenge, so I foolishly asked him what he meant. But part of Tony’s point in making the challenge seems to be that progressives get too hung up clearing their throats (e.g., obsessing over terminology and “labels”) before making their point. Apparently, the fact that I was compelled to ask the question is a pretty good indicator that I’m “progressive.”
So, without further delay,ten definitive statements about God follow. Where possible, I’ve linked to other stuff I’ve posted on the subject for anyone who wants elaboration.
1. God is Creator. That is, God has brought into being both our world and humanity itself.
2. God Loves Creation, Including Humanity. All of the Christian scriptures should be understood and interpreted, even radically so where necessary, in light of this fundamental reality. As Rob Bell puts it: “Love Wins.”
3. God’s Justice Seeks to Restore. In other words, because of God’s love (#2), God does not enact justice for purposes of retribution (i.e., a desire “get back” at people) but out of a desire to make things – and people – whole again.
4. God Revels in Human Accomplishment. God’s joy comes from human creativity and accomplishment. If God had a refrigerator door, it would be covered with poems, musical compositions, photos of athletic prowess, and journal articles on quantum physics and evolutionary psychology from every corner of the globe. God’s hope is that we will – in every imaginable way – enrich, rather than deplete, creation.
5. As such, God Approves of Sexual Expression.
6. God Plays Hide and Seek. Sometimes God is readily known, sometimes God is impossible to find. This cycle of “closeness,” “far-ness,” and emptiness is an integral part of healthy spirituality.
7. God is Genderful. That is, God is filled with the characteristics of both men and women. Or, if you prefer to think of it another way, men and women collectively reflect the nature of God. Although the male pronoun is used to refer to God in the Christian scriptures, it is wrong to say that God is “male.” It is equally wrong to say that God is “genderless.”
8. God does NOT hate fags. Or Muslims. Or Liberals.
9. God is not interested in the kind of apocalyptic glory that comes from violent domination of other people and their viewpoints.
10. God cares about how the story of Max the Bear will end. God cares about your “work story” as well.