Drinking Deeply

Sunday, November 19, 2006 at 10:50 PM

Trivializing God

It's possible to say something true about God in a trivializing manner, one that is demeaning to Him and actually insulting. It's said in a manner, or with a context, to imply that the statement is all there is to say about the issue.

In today's culture, we have many such examples. One of which, (and this prompted my post) is my sweatshirt.

On the front of my sweatshirt is written "Steak is good," and on the back, "but God is better."

Of course it's true! All things created by God are good. And God certainly is better than steak!

Now of course, given a proper context, it's high praise and good reminder. "God, you've given me so much, but I don't treasure the gift, but I treasure you."

Piper argues convincingly that this is how we should see God in God is the Gospel. We certainly cannot say that saying something like "Steak is good, but God is better" is wrong. The creators of the sweatshirts probably had something like that in mind when they came up with the slogan. Perfectly fine and God-centered. Praise be to God for thoughts like that, and would it be that I would always remember that when presented with good gifts!

But, I realized that while it was fine in my mind, what I thought mattered as much as what other people thought when they saw the sweatshirt. And I realized that those in the dorm just thought it was funny. It was funny because steak was good. And it was funny that while it was true that God was better, they didn't see why, but they just saw the sweatshirt comparing the two.

As if we could compare steak and God! A gift and the giver! Something good with our definition of Good! What it seems that I was saying was that "given a choice between steak and God, I'd choose God." But there certainly is no choice between steak and God (except for those foods offered to idols to those whose consciences are bound). But we shouldn't just compare steak and God, but we should compare all the earthly pleasures in this life, and say "compared to God, rubbish!"

Instead of sounding like a man counting all things loss in comparison to God, it sounds just like another one of those, "Hey, God is pretty cool."

No, God isn't just cool. He is Lord. He is King. He is righteous. He is justice. He is merciful. He is powerful. He is loving. He is good. He is the one you never want to get on His bad side. He is the one, whom, even though you were on His bad side, now extends mercy and grace to all His children through Christ Jesus. This is God. He is not cool.

I think I could say the same about the "Jesus is my Homeboy" t-shirts, but I think this t-shirt says it better.

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Blogger Mike Cheng said...

I think Piper said something about slogans like your sweartshirt at his conference. He mentioned how both he, Mark Driscoll, and everyone else should be careful not to replace the gospel with our own created catchy slogans. We want to make God relevant and interesting, but there's a limit to that. It went something along those lines...

I want that T-shirt =P.  

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Anonymous theocentric522 said...

It's also how you say it and how you use it. Even "God is love" (though a quote straight from the Bible) is used in a way that trivializes God. As you'd say, "statement is all there is to say about the issue." God is love, yes, but also "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."  

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