Doing it all for others (at least some of the time) & the #genuinequotient [*props to James Michael Devitt*]

0genuine-stamp-1Yesterday a friend of mine posted a video of Victoria Osteen on Facebook. In it she said, “When you worship (and obey) God, we’re not doing it for God, we’re doing it for ourself, because that’s what makes God happy!” The comment section was predictable and contained the usual comments saying things like:

Yeah, there’s just really not much that comes from that man that’s biblical… if we’re to take God’s word literally, that guy’s gonna have some ‘splainin’ to do when he leaves this earth.

It’s all about positive thinking with them and happiness and bunny rabbits and lollipops when people need to hear good old fashion hell, fire and brimstone again!

That’s all America needs is an ‘excuse’ to be selfish bc we don’t have enough of that already… And I think they have the largest congregation in America.
How about do it bc u want to – please God. Surely that’s what she ‘meant to say’ – sigh…

Today in the car all of this came back to mind and I started examining what I believe about this and what my motivation is when I do the things I do. Here is what I came up with…

The good that I do, the love that I share, I don’t do that “for God”. God and I are already cool. Because he loves me no matter what (and before I did anything good or bad) he sent his son, not to condemn me but to save me and everyone else. I also don’t do it “for myself”. Sorry Victoria, for me loving people often isn’t easy and/or doesn’t make me happy. The good that I do (when my motives are right) I do for others. Jesus gave us two commandments; love God and love each other. Paul later distills these two down to one, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” When we do this one thing we fulfil all the law including loving God. After all, how does God say people will know that we are his followers? By all the stuff we do “for him”? Nope. By how happy we are? Nope. He says followers of Jesus will be known by one thing. L-O-V-E. So how is that going?

This week I was party to a Facebook conversation in which the term “genuine quotient” was thrown out as a compliment. Kent and I thought it was an excellent and very descriptive term so I am totally advocating that we, lovelies, make it a thing. Here is my attempt at defining “genuine quotient.” “Genuine” means authentic or sincere, what something or someone truly is. “Quotient” is the degree or the magnitude of a specified characteristic or quality. If we put these together we have:

Genuine Quotient – The degree or magnitude to which someone is genuine or sincere.

It is my contention that people have a pretty good bullshit meter when it comes to the #GQ (catchy, huh?). People know when my motivation is love and care for others vs. doing something to make myself happy or look good to someone else vs. doing something “for God” (as if God needed me to “do something” for him) either to earn his approval or stay out of hell. When we do things out of obligation or selfishness we will never be known by our love even if our actions seem good on the surface. Like I said, b.s. meters yada yada. However, it is my contention that when my motivation is love for my neighbor, I raise my genuine quotient. And isn’t that a good thing?

(function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i[‘GoogleAnalyticsObject’]=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){
(i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o),
m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m)
})(window,document,’script’,’//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js’,’ga’);

ga(‘create’, ‘UA-6995825-7’, ‘auto’);
ga(‘require’, ‘displayfeatures’);
ga(‘send’, ‘pageview’);

Really Joel?

JoelO

 

I saw this in my news feed on the Facebook this morning. It was posted by a lovely and well meaning friend. I am confident it was meant as encouragement for her friends who were experiencing tough times. Most days I would scroll right by but not today, I’m not sure why. Maybe it is because of our recent scare with our son’s ruptured appendix and emergency surgery. Maybe it is the war raging in the Middle East. Or maybe it is the Ebola outbreak in Africa. But today, I just could not allow it to pass by unchallenged and uncommented upon.

Here is the comment I posted to my friend:

What about child abuse? What about people who starve to death? What about rape? What about when your child dies? I could go on and on. I apologize for being so negative but when I read something like this it just seems so glib and dismissive. Seriously, what is God’s purpose for genocide? Or the holocaust? I personally don’t think a God like that is worth serving.

Seriously, how in the world do we lay such horrendous things at the feet of God? What kind of fucked up God is that who would for some “purpose” allow terror, destruction and death? Jesus says those things come from one place and it isn’t God. (John 10) Jesus says that he is light and in him is no darkness. (1John 1) Jesus says that he is love. (1John 4) Genocide isn’t love. Jesus says he is the author of life. (Acts 3) I would rather worship a God who is there with me in my suffering than the cause of it. That is the God I see in the scriptures. This is the good news, that God did not leave us alone to experience evil he came down and experienced it himself. (Philippians 2) The good news is that love can win in the end. That someday all will be made right. (Revelation 21) And that until then he is here with us in it. Suffering with us. Just like the creation we are all “groaning” together waiting for that day. (Romans 8)

To borrow a thought from Rob Bell, often I find that when somebody says they don’t believe in God, and I ask them to tell me about the God they don’t believe in it turns out I don’t believe in that God, either. Here is what I think. I think a lot of people who want to believe are turned off by a God and a people who say that their God is a bloody, vengeful, narcissistic, genocidal maniac. Well, if that is my choice, to either worship that God or no God at all, I pick no God at all. Fortunately that is not my choice. I worship the God who is all love, who is unselfish, who is for humanity and not against it, who is light devoid of any darkness, who recoils at violence done in his name, who never forces himself on anyone, who loves all, who wants all to be saved, who is making all things new.

 

Links:

Rob Bell: What is the Bible Series

You’re Damn Right I Believe Another Gospel

#anothergospel immigration, contraception and patriotism edition

What If? Would We?

Anne Lamott