Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Hate "Cats"! - A Theological Rant

Hubbs & I heard a fellow named Bob Sjorgren speak at church a few years ago, and our faith has never been the same.  You see, Bob likens the theology of the modern Church to that of the attitudes of cats and dogs.  Cats are self-centered and everything is about them.  Dogs are loyal and faithful and everything is about their Master/Owner.  So too, some Christians are all about themselves; this is reflected in how they live, how they pray, and how they see God as part of their lives.  Other Christians are all about Jesus, and this too is evidenced in how they live their lives on a minute by minute basis.

After hearing the sermon, we read Sjorgren & Gerald Robison's book "Cat and Dog Theology," and the way that we worship has been transformed.  We have also been ever-increasingly convicted of our own selfishness and how we so often rob God of the honour and praise that He is due.

Our new church, praise Jesus, is also "dog-like" theologically.  So often has our pastor reminded us that it's not about us, but it's about Jesus.  It always comes back to Jesus, to God Himself. 

Anyway, as we have become changed, I've found myself growing ever more intolerant of those who profess Christ but who make all things about them; their theology is incomplete and it excludes God save for a cursory acknowledgement.  They treat God as though He is their eternal Santa Claus, there to bless them and make them prosperous and give them rewards because of their faith or their good works or their oh-so-lovely -souls.  They live out "Christianity" as a religion for the privileged and the blessed, and they pick and choose the parts of the Bible to believe and to claim as Truth (usually the "feel-good" parts).  Please.  Sure, God loves us, yes, but everything He does is for His name's sake alone.  Everything.  His glory is of foremost importance to Him, and even as Jesus hung on that cross and became a propitiation for our sins, He was doing it for the Father's glory, and not because we are so darn likeable and too cute to send to Hell.

So often, the incomplete theology of misled "cats" cause them to believe that worship is a response to what God has done for them personally, rather than an acknowledgement of who He is (holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts!) first.  They embrace the "I, me, my, our, us" pronouns far more than the "You, God" and "Yours."  They focus on God's love and mercy and grace to the exclusion of His wrath and jealousy and judgment and hatred of sin.  They think life has to be fair according to their definition of fair, and get angry with God when life is "unfair" to them, forgetting that it's all about God being glorified through His plan for humankind.  They consider themselves to be the main protagonists of the Bible, and they believe that God's will is to bless them.  They ignore the parts of the Scriptures that talk of suffering for His name, and of God making His own name great.  

And we are all cats.  You and me.  We've all been misled into an incomplete faith and understanding because we are selfish, self-centered, entitled people living a privileged life in a part of the world that has not had to suffer persecution for our faith.  We indulge our sinful natures and our egos and the humanistic philosophies around us, and we make God into our personal genie, rather than the Savior and King of Kings that He is.  We do not come before God as little children, faithful and hopeful and trusting and surrendered.  

Oh, sheeple (I borrowed this term from Garth Turner), I must decrease so that He may increase!  We must all decrease so that He may be glorified in our lives, in our words, in our deeds.  To God be the glory, forever and ever.  It's not about me.  It's all about Jesus.



~Rain``` said...

Amen to what you have said. I am getting quite tired of the entitlement philosophy that seems to be flooding the minds of our young people and seeping into our churches. It really isn't about US.

Yet, I have a question. You stated, "'s all about God being glorified through His plan for humankind." True. But isn't it also part of God's plan to bring glory to His people? Isn't it part of redemption to take us from the muck and transform us into something beautiful?

I guess the problem arises when we get so fixated by our transformation that we forget the God who changed us (Lucifer comes to mind). Or we are so consumed by the desire to be changed that it becomes all about us and our lives and our problems (a.k.a. prosperity gospel).

I do believe it is all about God. Yet, I believe it is about us as well. I see it as a dance. We submit to God's glorious lead. We focus solely on Him and let go of ourselves. And he takes us and creates beautiful movement.

If we take the dog analogy, we see something similar. The dog is engrossed with her master. She wants to please him above all else. But her master desires the dog to be "glorified" as well.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings...

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Interesting point, and I think we are sanctified, yes, but I hesitate to use the word "glorified" to describe the transformation that believers undergo as they grow in their faith and their walk with Him. As we become more obedient, He is more glorified in us, but even then it isn't us (or our own ability) that deserves the glory, it is His Holy Spirit living and working within us.

Maybe it is a matter of semantics, but I find it a slippery slope to say that it's about us. God is complete within Himself, and does not need us. He wishes to be glorified and takes pleasure in His creation, which motivated His plan to redeem His people. However, there is nothing inherently good or worthwhile in us to be redeemed, save for His image that we bear.

~Rain``` said...

Maybe glorified is too strong of a word to describe our transformation. And I can see how saying it is about us can be a slippery slope.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we need a balance. Theology has swung between the too extremes. I have been in churches in which I walk out every Sunday feeling like a smuck. I suck. Worship God, but who cares about me. At the same time, I get really bothered when I attend churches in which it is all about me. My entertainment (including a light sermon), my healing, my life, my rights as a Christian. Where is God for crying out loud? Where is the point of it all?

Also, could it be possible that God needs us?

I am glad you posted this. These are ideas in theology that I am wrestling through. I have questions for which I can't find satisfactory answers. That is okay...

sideshow bob said...

I thought you meant the *musical*. Man, I frikkin' hate that musical!!!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

@sideshow bob - I know, right? I don't like the musical "Cats" either, though I do think the actors do a good job of mimicking the movements of felines.

@Rain - I agree that extremes are bad, though at the same time I think the pendulum has swung far too much to the "me" side and it doesn't hurt to shove it back to the middle, by counter-swaying it more towards the "God" side.

And I don't think that God needs us. I think He enjoys us and He derives pleasure from us as His creation, but to say that God needs us would be to imply that He is not complete within Himself, non?

~Rain``` said...

I do believe that God is complete within Himself. Maybe he doesn't need us but wants us. Kind of like having a child. I didn't necessary need to have a baby. But I desired and wanted her. And now that I have been blessed by her presence, I desire a relationship with her.