Monday, March 08, 2010

Epiphany - 4 dictionary results
e·piph·a·ny   [ih-pif-uh-nee] Show IPA
(initial capital letter) a Christian festival, observed on January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi; Twelfth-day.
an appearance or manifestation, esp. of a deity.
a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.
a literary work or section of a work presenting, usually symbolically, such a moment of revelation and insight.

I suppose whenever I see the word "Epiphany", I expect something absolutely profound or earth shattering to be revealed in this very small humble moment.
It won't happen this time.
But... many things have been revealed to me over the last several months. And, as things settle in my mind - I'd like to share some revelations with you.
I am not by any stretch of the imagination an intellectual. But, I do think from time to time. And that, dear friends, makes me dangerous.
I was thinking the other day (you really ought to brace yourself when I say that)... I wonder what it is about Christianity that people find so unpalatable these days? Is it the church going? I mean, come ON! It's an hour a week! Buck up!
Is it the preaching? Seriously... you and I have sat through drier monologues.
Is it the do-gooding? You have a heart, don't you?

I don't think it's any of those things. I think it's this: The Box.
I think that even the most devout atheist may even entertain the idea of God... even agree that there is some cosmological entity in control of the universe if it wasn't for this Box we try to put God in.
God is massive, huge, unfathomable... we use big words like: omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent to describe him. (Those big fancy words make us feel special, don't they?)
And unbelievers sense that. They sense the bigness of God!
And we (by "we" I mean church people) place that HUGE God... in a wee little box. We tell folks: IF you are to access the almighty God, you must do it here (in this wee little building) at this very specific time (10:00am is preferable) and in this very specific way (sing, pray, listen, give, partake). And there is NO other way. Just this one. Any other way is not ordained and is likely a trap from the devil.
And our atheist friends are saying: "Huh?!" "Isn't God bigger than that?" "Can't I relate to Him any other way? Or do I have to jump through YOUR hoops to access the all powerful, all knowing, almighty God?" (And we answer with a blank stare.)
And we stand outside our boxes like bouncers. Checking folks in. Throwing folks out. (This one's saved. This one's not saved. This one can stay in the fellowship. This one's different, she's outta the herd.)
Can you see how they see it?! What have we done?! Is this what God intended?
Is it no wonder they think we're crazy? We don't actually believe what we profess to believe about the bigness of God.
In fact - we're not even sure he's big enough to save us. We doubt our own salvation... and each other's for good measure! We cast doubt on the goodness of God, the ability of God to save the soul of a sister whose knee didn't go under when she was baptized.
Mmm... don't' get me started.
Big God. Little Box.
I think we suit ourselves with the piece of God that makes us most comfortable in our little boxes. The piece that looks like the better version of me.
I don't know about you. But I want out of the box.
I want all of God... which I realize... is gonna be more than I can handle.
But hey... He wants all of me too.


Niki said...


A lot of Christians are afraid of God in a way that leads them to obsessively dot every I and cross every T in the hope of pleasing Him enough that He'll save them, instead of trusting in the power of Jesus' death and resurrection.

You've heard me say this a lot: We've recreated God in our own image - thinking we know how He would act and react in every situation, and we've been arrogant enough to feel justified in passing along judgment for Him - putting people in their place. I think a lot of non-church going people like God, they just don't like His followers very much for the ways we've hi-jacked Christianity. They resent that we use weapons against them - weapons that we're told are for use against the enemy, which Paul said were not flesh and blood. We'll have to talk more about this sometime.

There is no box big enough to contain God, and there is no "my God," there's only one God.

Great post! :)

Family said...


speechless and in awe

Jeanne Powell said...

Your post resonated with me. Under "religion" in my facebook profile I said, "God is bigger than any box we try to put Him in." It makes me wonder that people will display a sweatshirt or bumper sticker for any cause or sports team, but are - what? - embarrassed? - to say something about their faith.

Robin said...

Very profound. I completely agree with you. When we try to define God we try to define something that is undefineable. Defining God puts him in that little box, and he doesn't fit in there. Often we have to try very, very hard to cram him in there and to make sure he stays. He doesn't fit. Let him out.