I feel conflicted about this book. On the one hand, there are many beautiful passages about God's love that I wrote down in my quote book, but on the other hand, I disagree with Jersak on many points. His main point is that people put their own inadequate images of God on God, but that the most accurate description can be found in the story of Jesus the Christ. An interesting proposition and I am not sure if I agree or disagree. What I do know is that I believe Bradley Jersak does not paint an accurate picture of Jesus and so I do not think he paints an effective or accurate description of God either.
According to Jersak, Jesus never seems to get angry and when he does get angry it is just satire or metaphor. He also does not think that God has feelings - that saying, "God is angry," is just anthropomorphizing. I find both of those ideas abhorrent.
I think God and Jesus are furious.
No, I do not think that God is going to send anybody to Hell because I do not believe in a physical Hell, but I do think that God is angry.
You see, there is a difference between righteous anger and self-righteous anger. It is good to be rightfully angry - it is not good or helpful to be self-righteous and full of one's self. Righteously angry is Jesus - self-righteous are the Pharisees.
It is right to be angry about injustice. Anger is an emotion that propels many people to change evil systems. I am part of a mental health revolution right now fueled partly by anger at the many ways the traditional medical model messes people up.
It is not right to be angry that your privileges as a white male are being levelled out.
You see the difference?
My God experiences emotion. If Jesus shares my pain, is human and yet is also God, then God shares my painful feelings. Therefore, God experiences emotion. I think to deny God the full range of emotion is to deny Her a relationship with human beings.
Therefore, God experiences anger, rage, and fury, especially when confronted with the injustices in our world. Anger is not a bad emotion, but it does need to be handled responsibly and constructively. I believe God is the force that allows us to turn from tearing people down to building people up. God is the force that allows us to turn unadulterated rage into something positive.
Now, I do think that Jersak was right in asserting that God is pure love and pure goodness. But again, I think constructive righteous anger IS loving. It is love for humanity and God that propels a person to be angry at injustice in the first place! If we did not love and care for each other, then we would not consider anything wrong with oppressing other people.
Of course, it is all too easy to become stagnant and say, "yes, I see the problem," but do nothing about it. It is true love that will prompt a person to change, to prompt a person to work towards a constructive positive solution for injustice instead of just giving up in apathy or giving in to homicidal impulses.
My God is good, loving and kind. She is also angry - angry enough to be able to turn people's hearts from mere stone to a pulsing organ of love. She is angry enough to cut through the bullshit and turn people towards the truth.
My God is angry and I am glad. I am angry too and with our anger we can change the world into the kindom it was originally intended to be.
(Side note - I had other disagreements with the author, but these points were the ones I felt the most strongly.)
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