I Don’t Believe In That God Either

“I don’t believe in God.”

“Tell me about the god you don’t believe in.”

“Oh, I don’t believe in that god, either.”

Gene Appel (Eastside Christian Church, Orange County, CA) and Andy Stanley (North Point Community Church, suburban Atlanta) have each done a teaching series on the topic. Yesterday I heard another take on the subject rolling up an entire series into one talk.

You know, you have what I have called the “Great Vending Machine in the Sky” God. Granted James tells us (and it’s in several other places as well) that if you ask with enough faith, you’ll receive. But what happens when you drop in your four quarters, press the buttons, and the bag gets stuck against the window. You can see it, but you can’t get it. Now you blame that God and cease to believe.

Or the political god who cares about which political party you vote for. Vote the wrong party and you’re going to hell. Just a personal observation here–I haven’t found either Democrat or Republican in the Bible yet. I’ll keep searching, but after 50 years of study I doubt that I find it. But if you teach that, then you only reach 50% of the people that God wants you to reach–since he wants us to reach out to everyone.

Going back to my conversation–

I love the second sentence. Without threatening, we just try to draw out a conversation about God. 

How many of us would just jump in with a monologue about our god? Then pull out John 3:16 or another favorite verse. And tell them they are going to hell. And then leave. And they thing, there goes yet another judgemental Christian. Why would I want to be like them?

More than 30 years of my career have been devoted to definitions. Even now, I’ll be in an interview with some technology expert and they will throw out a word. I think, Hmm, I think I understand that word, but what does she really mean by it? I’ll say, At the risk of seeming ignorant, what do you mean by that word? 

Often that leads into a wonderful conversation and I get a deep explanation of the topic.

Works with God conversations, too. “Could you describe the god you don’t believe in.” Followed by “Oh, could I tell you about a different God–one who seeks a relationship not a subject.”

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