As 2009 wound down, a friend raved about reading her new Bible from beginning to end. I thought I'd done that, but I hadn't. Who knew Job was written before Genesis, that Ezekiel and Jeremiah do-si-doed? (No, I didn't go to Bible school.) I was very intrigued. My husband saw my interest and ordered a chronological Bible for my birthday. Wow.
It's been a very interesting year. The story seems bigger, more personal.
In my reading, however, I've thought more than once: Uh, God, have you seen the writing guidelines for Christians?
In short, God isn't always nice, nor does he use polite language. We make a mistake if we try to fit him into our 1950s sensibilities, probably the last decade being His follower felt comfortable. In my Bible reading yesterday, God speaks to Israel through Ezekiel like harlots with lusts for very large Assyrian...um...well...genitalia (Ezekial 23), only He spoke in more earthy language. In the next chapter, Ezekiel's wife dies. God tells him not to mourn to demonstrate His lack of pity on His adulterous children. That's not nice, either.
God is so surprising.
He is not "nice" as defined in western culture. In fact, "He's not a tame lion," as C.S. Lewis proclaims in his Chronicles of Narnia. His jaws ensnare us; his teeth rip flesh; we are devoured by His greatness.
His justice is harsh. His love is crushing, comforting, confounding. His truth immutable. When we expect Him to zig, He zags. He subdues His power and begs us to come closer. His will comes to us as a finger writing in stone and by a child's breathy whisper. He is a passionate lover. His desire is for us, and His love outpaced His judgment when He took the nails on Calvary.
Who can figure Him out?
And yet, books are written--fiction and nonfiction--pretending to knowing the secret formula for taming Him, like if we do x, he will y. Riiight.
All of this is to say (thanks for being patient) True edgy fiction isn't pushing the envelope on topics of sex and language, although I agree with Sharon's conclusions yesterday.
Edgy fiction lets God be God.
We need some good examples, don't we? What have you read lately that portrays God as God? Lisa Samson's The Passion of Mary-Margaret and Embrace Me come to mind. And you?