MY CORNER OF THE KINGDOM
No one worships God.
Before you heat up the tar vat and buy out Walmart’s feather pillows, please read on.
I often start a teaching session with this seemingly outrageous statement. To a large degree it is a true statement; we worship an image of God, not God Himself. Our image of Him changes over the years due to maturation, our (hopefully) increased understanding of the Biblical narrative, and our track record of dealing with Him. Much of our image of who God is and how He operates (unfortunately at times) has been heavily influenced by our culture, our race, our socioeconomic background, and our sources of information (i.e., media). Your experience, positive or otherwise, with a father goes a long way toward shaping your relationship to a heavenly Father.
An increasingly dominant influence in relating to and understanding God is modern technology and more specifically Internet browsers (humor me). Recently I spoke to two youth groups on “the Google-ization of God.” Before Internet browsers the Web was more curiosity than core for most of us, a place where you exchanged email and tips on where to find websites; you had to have the exact URL (webpage address) or you couldn’t find the website you wanted. Fast forward to now: have a question? Google it. Forgot an address? Google it. Need to do a preliminary background check on a car, a house, a person? Google it. One click and you receive millions of possibilities in a nanosecond. Google (or Bing, or Internet Explorer) gives the impression it is omnipresent (present everywhere), omniscient (knows everything), and omnipotent (all powerful). It is a false impression, to be sure, but a compelling one for many people. The seductive factor is that it is always there when I need it, responsive when I ask a question, and does not judge me for my choices. See the pattern? It gives the impression it revolves around me, I’m in charge, it seeks what I want to know. It can become more attractive as a deity than God Almighty, who calls the shots, decides what He will answer (or not), and when He will answer it. He might even hesitate to respond until we ask a question more to His liking. Google indulges my every whim, which at first glance seems heavenly.
Google imbues the user with an inflated sense of expertise because it floods you with information. We mistake accessibility for intelligence, a flood of facts for wisdom. With Big Data in our present and Artificial Intelligence in our near future, that which masquerades as our servant will soon have a chance to become our masters. In our times of gathering as the church we must get beyond children’s Bible stories of Noah, Daniel, & Zaccheus and challenge our people to examine the Word of God in depth.
We must rediscover the majesty and true sovereignty of our Lord, to immerse themselves in the greatness and grace of our Father in heaven---and not in a casual glance at Bible Gateway to rip through a few scattered verses but to study, reflect, pray over His very words to us (Is. 40.8; John 17.17). Learn who the true Christ is by spending quality time in His Word. (Colossians 1.13-20, John 1.1-18, not google.com).