John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

God Is...

My good friend Kerry Clark (who I'm still bummed about missing when I was recently up in his part of the country) left a comment just a few minutes ago that really stated the obvious in a clever and succinct way. He said that our worldview must begin with a set of biblical presuppositions -- particularly about the character and nature of God. So, let's talk about God for a while, shall we?

To begin with, as I read the Bible I find God to be more than the God of our religion. I find him to be the God of nature and art and beauty as well. He is the God of both the "sacred" and the "secular". In fact, I'm a little uncomfortable using those words anymore. I've come to view everything as "sacred" in the sense that it all belongs to God. I've come to believe that nothing is truly "secular" in the sense that God is excluded from it.

God -- who you would think has fairly high standards of craftsmanship and aesthetics -- made the world, stepped back and said, "That's good." He didn't say, "That'll do." He didn't say, "Close enough." He said, "That's good."

Moreover, "everything God created is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:4). If I were to make such a statement, you might be justified in pushing back a little. But that wasn't me saying that last sentence. That was the Apostle Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Everything and nothing are pretty inclusive words and are difficult to get around in that verse.

We should be more thankful than we are for the gifts we receive from our Creator. Sex. Friendship. Family. Beauty. Art. Music. Work. Play. The interracial, intercultural world in which we live. Painting. Singing. Dancing. Laughing. Cooking. Eating. Our God is the God who created all these things, and we should be more grateful for them than we are.

I fear that one of the worst things Christians have ever done is that we've made God too religious. We act as if he's only interested in religious things: religious buildings, religious books, religious activities.

Of course, he's interested in those things, but he's only interested in them if they're related to everyday life. If the Old Testament prophets are reliable -- heck, if Jesus is reliable -- God gets pretty critical of religion that's divorced from everyday life. If what's happening on Sundays isn't connected in some ways to what's happening on Monday through Saturday, our religious services are worse than worthless; they're hypocrisy of the highest order -- the kind that makes God nauseous.

Our worldview must begin with a biblically accurate picture of God -- particularly the understanding that God is concerned with the whole of human life.

Now, here's a question for us to wrestle with: Do we really believe God is vitally interested in both the "sacred" and the "secular"? How might our lives be different if we really believed and acted on this?