The opinions expressed on this blog are the personal views of Andreas Kjernald and do not reflect the positions of either the UMC congregations in Skien or Hvittingfoss or the UMC Norway.

måndag 27 mars 2017

God is an aquired taste

I think God is an aquired taste.

Today I saw the biggest idol yet while living in Nepal. It was a huge snake with many heads (and a long tail). I truly don't get idols, espeically snake ones, but that is not very surprising, is it? (I also don't get why they put most of their idols behind a locked gate. Wouldn't stealing an idol be terrible Karma and send you down the "evolutionary" ladder?). I guess that they at best remind people that there is something beyond smartphones and semi-funny Youtube videos. At worst, they lead people astray to eternal damnation.

It seems as if God and the thirst for God is everywhere here in Nepal. You don't have to convince a Nepali that there is a spiritual side to life, which is nice because that is half-way there, but since Hinduism is a pantheistic religion it sort of makes God, or religion, a little bland. It's like the American (bless their hearts!) obsession with having Everything. Right. Now!
In Sweden we have a pastry sort-of thing that is only available between New Year and Easter.
Everybody loves them but you can't get them in June. Had it been in America you could've had them 24/7/365...home-delivered for $2,99. But then it loses its charm.
The point being that if you have something that is always around you and is always available it becomes less special, less important and less valuable. Nobody treasures trips to Wal-Mart and I wonder how special the garden temples and gods are around here when everything is kind of holy and "special".

Well, I'm not Nepali so I don't know the answer to that question but I do know that I have a book that is called "When God is gone everything is holy". I bought it based on the title alone and I found it very sad. Not "sad" as in "I don't like it" but sad because it tried so hard to make "year-around Semlas" a good thing, knowing deep down that it doesn't work. Everything is not  holy when God is gone because the very definition of holy is something that is ontologically different from "everything" that isn't God.

The Christian God, who by default is not a pantheistic God, is an aquired taste. He is not like the stuff we know and see all around us. He is someone who time and again surprises us humans with just how different he is. This makes sense to me because it is a clear indication that God is God and not an invention of man. Sometimes really smart non-believers argue that God is a human invention, for example Freud who said something to the extent that God is a fabrication of innate human desires and urges...a universal cute and kind grandfather figure in the sky to help us with our problems and love us no matter what. For the record, that is never how the Bible talks about God.

The main reason for God being an aquired taste is thus that he is not like anything we are used to. "Everything" is not God and therefore God is not something that we have aquired a taste for here down on earth in our earthly little lives. Another way of putting it is:
We are sinners. I know, how old-fashioned and depressing, but wait(!), being a sinner expalins why we don't run into the arms of God and hug Him forever. We don't like the "taste" of God because God is simply so different from us and everything we are used to. By default we now run the other way. We seek to fulfill ourselves and become "all we can be" without God. Who's that working out for us, you ask? Read the paper...

That is the most basic understanding of "sin"...that it is the antonym of "holy". God is like a semla that we haven't had for a really long time. We have forgotten what God "tastes" like and so we hold back. Sit at home. Seek to quench our thirst for the divine semla with substitutes. Sin, as per the description, is a desire for anything other than God, the divine semla. It's the ultimate mistake, the final dance around a golden calf when God is just up the mountain. Rather a mute statue of finest gold instead of a Holy God on a burning mountain talking to you.

But all is not lost. Like the fragrance of a delicious pastry wafting through the air, we can find traces of God everywhere. We can aquire a taste for God. He hasn't closed the Heavenly bakery. In fact, God must be part American because His word seems to indicate that we can have Him 24/7/365. He has not left himself without a witness, a scent (like Paul calls Christians) if you will, among the perfumes of humanity that are designed to cover up the stench of our sins. It's called grace and it is the Holy Spirit who visits us with this most precious delight.

Easter is upon us. Smell God's grace in his sacrifice of love on the cross for us, sinners, and aquire a taste of His goodness and holiness.

2 kommentarer:

Anonym sa...

Tack för intressant text. Allt gott! /PA

Anonym sa...