Tag Archives: God is love

Gungor’s God is not a man

I am attending the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s ChurchWorks conference in Decatur, Georgia.  Hosted by the First Baptist Church of Decatur, it is my first time at the event created primarily for ministers of education and spiritual formation.  I expected to learn new things but I was not prepare to hear something new in worship.

By this, I don’t mean a new song though it is a new song to me.  I did not expect to hear these words in worship.  Hallelujah is expected.  Amen comes standard.  In fact, at the end of song, there were no applause.  We all just sat in silence and in the truth of it.  Throughout the song, we just looked at each other in shock.  Did he just sing that?

Okay.  I’ve said enough about it.  I’ll just let you listen to it for yourself.  I present to you, “God is not a man.”

Proving Love

urlLove is believed to be the most overused word in our vocabulary. We love to say it. We love how it makes us feel. We want to be in the presence of love, to feel loved, to receive love. We want things to love and people to love us. Thinking that this love cannot hurt us, we fall into it— no safety net, no escape plan, no strings attached.

Love. Love. Love. We say it a lot. But, I am starting to believe that while it is overused, it is not overworked. No, love is not employed as often as it is spoken. No clocked in overtime, here. In fact, I think that it is easier said than done.

For love is both a practice and the Presence. It is a verb, an action word and it is a Person because “God is Love,” the One who “lives, moves and has His being” in love (cf. First John 4.8; Acts 17.28).

Love is not just said; it is done. Love is just not spoken; it is proven: “God proved his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5.8).

It is not just talk. It is not just a word. It is a promise, a commitment. It may leave our lips but it should stick to us, ask something of us. There should be an action on our part that accompanies its profession: “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son” (John 3.16).

Everything that God does is from love. In fact, God is the very address of love. I would go so far as to say that if he, she or it does not lead us right back to God that one might have strayed, gotten lost, missed Love. Wrong turn. Wrong house. Wrong person.

And is He really the Love that we are talking about, the Love that we are seeking to find ourselves in, this capital L, Love? Or is it something smaller, easier to believe, manage and say?

The Reconciling Race Series: What Does Race Reconcile? (Pt. 2)

“Be ye reconciled to God.”

~II Corinthians 5.20, KJV

Reconcile /ˈrɛkənˌsaɪl/ [rek-uhn-sahyl]  -ciled, -cil·ing. verb (used with object)

1. to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired: He was reconciled to his fate.
2. to win over to friendliness; cause to become amicable: to reconcile hostile persons.
3. to compose or settle (a quarrel, dispute, etc.).
4. to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent: to reconcile differing statements; to reconcile accounts.
5. to reconsecrate (a desecrated church, cemetery, etc.).
 
Sadly, the only part of this definition that race satisfies is the first: “to cause (a person) to accept or be resigned to something not desired.”  We don’t really want to accept the social terms and living conditions of race.  We don’t want to see ourselves, our God or our neighbors through the lens of race, prejudice or stereotypes.  We don’t desire to judge or to hate entire people groups because of one or two persons that we may have encountered who offended, harrassed or accosted us.  But, it is something that we have resigned ourselves to because we believe it to be our fate.  We believe that race is unavoidable, that it is our misfortune, our lot.  Our fate or destiny, “that which is inevitably predetermined; the decreed cause of events” is not race neither does it support a racial end.  Our destiny is to be reconciled to God and the two do not work in concert as God will not resign Himself to the perspective or social positions of race.
 
“God is love and the one who does not love does not know God” (I John 4.8).  Well, race will not permit us to love.  It is founded upon hatred– hatred of self and of others.  It is rooted in a lack of self- understanding and unharnessed pride so we take pride in an identity we do not understand because it gives us power both as victim and victimizer; it provides us with a place, center and marginal and a clear purpose: us versus them.   
 
Our fate, “the universal principle or ultimate agency by which the order of things is presumably prescribed,” does not begin or end with race as believers in Jesus Christ.  No, we, as people of faith, have come to God because we “believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11.6).  We sing with the psalmist, “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily loads us with benefits (who is our support day by day)” (68.19).  Race does not and will not reconcile us to God as the acceptance of race into our being makes our social appearance and our worth with God irreconcilable.  Race can make it difficult to come to God as we confuse social righteousness with one’s ability to become righteous in Christ.
 
And while our appearance was predetermined by God, the meanings that we assign to our differences are not.  We called ourselves races.  God did not. Be ye reconciled to God not to race.