Christians make a lot of assumptions about God. It’s actually totally normal. Theology itself is how we each make sense of who God is and what God is up to, and the Bible is not a systematic theology book. At some point, we have to fill in the gaps and holes in our theology with new ideas. Sometimes, we call this tradition, since our broader denomination may do it for us. Still, the challenge of making assumptions is that often we get it wrong and the hole we filled in has to be dug out to make way for something different.
The first response in NakedPastor’s fake text message above is basically what I remember of my theology during high school. It was simple and basically persuasive. God loves me. God died for me. I get to go to heaven. Awesome!
Except – there are lots of those assumptions, and over time, as I paid attention to what God was doing in my life and in the world, many of those assumptions had to radically change. Sure, God loves me, and God’s sacrificial love is poured out for me that I may experience wholeness – but it’s more than just about me.
God loves the world.
Even the people in it who are pretty terrible.
Even the people who get it completely wrong.
Even the people that I think are scum.
God loves everybody.
The more I have followed and sought after God, the more I have come to see how God is not someone or something that I own. Though I can make assumptions, I have to be ready constantly to have those assumptions changed. Sometimes, that’s painful. Sometimes, it’s freeing!
Yes, God loves me. But it’s not about me.
It’s about what God is doing in our world, bringing hope, reconciliation, and healing to everyone.
A better first text to God might be this instead – “Hey, God – thanks for loving everyone! What are you up to in the world today? How can I participate?”