Landlord or Lover

Landlord or Lover (1,206)

July 13th, 2011

Here’s a question—is God a great big landlord, leasing space to us for a brief season, demanding exorbitant rent while only providing a dishwasher, stove and basic cable? Or is He a suitor, courting eight billion people to achieve a moment of intimacy that might lend itself to a lasting relationship?

I got to thinking about this last night while Gary was introducing Jan and myself at LakeBrady. I gazed into the sea of faces in the audience—unfamiliar souls who knew absolutely nothing about us aside from the printed material we had proffered, realizing that in short moments we were either going to make a temporary connection or produce a lasting memory. What creates the difference?

Candidly, everybody wants to be liked. Even people who insist they don’t care are masking a deep-seated desire to get an embrace from the human race. But for me it’s more than that. I want to be liked, but I also want you to listen carefully to the message I feel I’ve been given to share during my temporary quartering on planet earth. Hopefully at the end of that exchange, we will be able to walk out loving each other as much as we love ourselves. That’s the ideal.

I told the folks last night in LakeBrady that the attributes we project onto God—a blending of stoicism, brattiness and inflexibility—are actually the mannerisms that most of us despise in one another. No one that demanding and unwilling to adapt to our needs could ever become our lover. This is why sometimes I comprehend atheism better than I understand religion. Let me explain. It’s easier for me to analyze someone who would decide not to believe in a God who is mean-spirited and seemingly distant, than it is to fathom someone who continues to eat wafers and drink wine to commemorate a deity who seems unfriendly to our human condition. I think it’s actually more emotionally fulfilling—and dare I say, even righteous—to deny a God who’s a grouch instead of groveling at the Grinch’s feet.

I thought to myself, what if I came before this audience in Lake Brady and acted superior, demanding they worship me and praise my many talents, requiring they provide a certain portion of their income to justify their existence, and that they follow everything I say and explicitly obeying my rules or facing the punishment? Wouldn’t it be difficult for those people to find me appealing or want to be close?

Yet we often give God the role of landlord instead of lover. He is portrayed to be the reformed killer of whole races of people—which they say He did in the Old Testament—who, at any moment, could have a flashback and start dropping down thunder, fire and brimstone. Yes, what would happen if God backslid? Anybody ready for a plague of frogs in your pantry?

I guess it’s always been easy for me to accept God as human rather than divine. Maybe He is more supernatural and all-powerful than my next-door-neighbor. But if He is, I don’t think I’m going to be able to please Him, and quite frankly, I don’t find Him very pleasing myself.

So I enjoyed the folks in LakeBrady last night because I decided to be enjoyable and embrace them, becoming one of them and a friend—someone to love instead of a temporary landlord who came in to occupy space, demanding their attention.

It can’t be possible that I’m nicer than God, can it? It certainly doesn’t seem plausible that I could come up with an idea on how to reach people better than He could. Just yesterday, someone asked me if I was against church and religion. I have nothing against church, but religion is the scourge of mankind. Stated simply—rule-makers generate rule-breakers. The more rules you have, the less chance that human beings have any possibility of seeing the light of day. It has to be about relationship instead of relativity to a list of commandments.

Yes, I could understand an atheist better than a religionist. At least an atheist is rejecting a God that shouldn’t exist.

Published in: on July 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

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