Why I Don’t Trust a God That Looks Like You


“When we started out and we were talking about the origins of the universe and the physical constants, I provided what I thought were cogent arguments against a supernatural intelligent designer. But it does seem to me to be a worthy idea. Refutable–but nevertheless grand and big enough to be worthy of respect. I don’t see the Olympian gods or Jesus coming down and dying on the Cross as worthy of that grandeur. They strike me as parochial. If there is a God, it’s going to be a whole lot bigger and a whole lot more incomprehensible than anything that any theologian of any religion has ever proposed.”

-Dr. Richard Dawkins

My brother is the pastor of a church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He’s a good pastor to a faithful church, and he mentioned something in a sermon a few weeks back that struck me.  He briefly tackled the oft-heard complaint that begins with, “I simply cannot believe in a god who would…” and you can fill in the blank.

“Not save my children.”

“Allow hunger and genocide.”

“Kill my goldfish.”

“Permit reality television.”

I’ve certainly played those games before.  What my brother so correctly pointed out was to ask what kind of god we could believe in.  It’s a meaningful exercise.  If I were to dream up a god, to start fresh and invent one of my own fancy, what sort of attributes would he have?  Would he be loving?  Would he be kind?  Would he be a he?  What kind of powers does god have?

If we let this thought experiment play out I think we will find that “god” ends up being a sort of thing that we would wish ourselves to be.  He’s not so much a god, but a superlative human, capable of not falling into the temptations we fall into or battling the same vices.  The problem with this god, though, is that he still looks a lot like us.  

Maybe he looks like a very good us, but he’s altogether humanly in nature.  He’s only as powerful as our minds can imagine him to be, and the most imaginative of us already comes with preset limits. JB Phillips, in his great book Your God is Too Small, says the following:

“Man may be made in the image of God; but it is not sufficient to
conceive God as nothing more than an infinitely magnified man. There are, for
example, those who are considerably worried by the thought of God
simultaneously hearing and answering the prayers and aspirations of people
all over the world. That may be because their mental picture is of a harassed
telephone operator answering callers at a switchboard of superhuman size. It
is really better to say frankly, “I can’t imagine how it can be done” (which is the
literal truth), than to confuse the mind with the picture of an enlarged man
performing the impossible.”

Throw the old ideas of turning god into a superhuman away.  A god that looks like we would prefer to look and acts like we would prefer to act is a god utterly confined to our own thoughts and aspirations.  He’s a rouse, a people pleaser, and he’ll tell you anything you want to hear because you didn’t invent him to tell the truths that you don’t like. Get rid of him, put him away, because I don’t want anything to do with him.

This brings us back to the quote by the esteemed Richard Dawkins, all the way at the top. He said this at the end of a relatively informal debate between he and the evolutionary evangelical, Francis Collins.   What I find so striking about this quote is how much of it I agree with while I still see a great many missed points. Richard Dawkins, like many of us, can’t believe in a god that looks like the god of the scriptures because the god of the scriptures already fails to fit what he has predetermined to be “a whole lot bigger and more incomprehensible”  than what’s already out there.  I might suggest that the idea of an all powerful diviner of the universe becoming a human man while simultaneously sustaining the cosmos and saving humanity is already bigger and more incomprehensible than any of the gods I’ve invented in my mind.

Two modern day habits for contentment


When I was about 6, I went with my mom to the movie rental section of Kroger (Remember that?!). Of course, they also sold all sorts of candy for the gluttonous consumer, and they put some out on the lowest shelf, less than 4 inches off the ground. Now, my mom rarely bought candy for us growing up, and if she did, it was because she probably had a coupon. So, fully aware that my mom would never buy it for me, and I had no coupon to show for it, I grabbed as much as my little hands could hold. I soon realized that I was in a bit of a predicament, as I was wearing tights, which meant I had zero pockets. So, I did what any other kleptomaniac wearing tights, besides Robin Hood, would do…I stuffed them down my pants.

Just then, my mom came cruising casually down the aisle, as did the cashier right behind her. I felt pretty smug in my lumpy tights and took a step forward. Well, now would be a good time to mention that another nice thing about my mom is she was always kind enough to buy us clothes significantly larger than our size so that we could grow into them. She did an excellent good job, considering I still probably wouldn’t be able to fit in some of them to this day, even after having 2 kids. So, as I stepped forward, candy slid down my legs, out of the pant holes, and plopped right onto the floor. Before I could even think of an escape plan, my mom was already giving the look that sentenced me to years of torment. The rest is history.

I was fiercely covetous as a child, probably because, well, I was a child, and also because my parents were wise enough to never spend money on things that were simply unnecessary. Thankfully, as time passed, I naturally became more aware of the pettiness of material things, and became more satisfied with my life.

However, in recent years, the influx of social media, namely Facebook and Pinterest, I am bombarded and flooded daily by images of what my life should look like, and what I HAVE to have to be happy. The coveter in me has reared its nasty head back up and I feel as wanting as I did when I was 6, though now I covet refined things like Anthropology-type homes, fancy vacations, hipster toddler clothes, etc. Once a coveter, always a coveter.

And then I just find myself discontent. What is the problem in discontentment? Well, two things:

1) God hates it, because it shows that I am not fully satisfied with Him and what He has ordained for my life, and I don’t trust Him and His love for me.

2) It leads me to be cynical of the people who do have what I want.

There was one major realization though, that allowed me to exercise contentment:

The more I saw, the more I coveted.

So, there are two habits I practice to safeguard myself when I am tempted to covet.

1) I remind myself when I see something that makes me covet that what I see online is mostly an illusion. Sadly, people are not as happy as they look online, and naturally, we only pick and choose what everyone else sees. It’s not wrong…it’s just the fact that no one wants to see me mopping the floor or washing dishes in my PJ’s, and I’d prefer not to show anyone either. I saw a couple at a restaurant take pictures of their meals with their respective smart phones. The rest of the time, they were both just sitting there on their phones ignorant of the other partner. I’ve also seen moms take pictures of their kids at the park, and then just sit back down and play with their phones the rest of the time. What we see on our screens is a filter of a bigger, more complicated life.

2) I also realized that I DO have control over what is set before me. There is a button on Pinterest I’ve learned to love, and her name is “Unfollow Board.” Never seen her before? Well, you can recognize her because she looks like this:


Because I don’t need to wish my son’s birthday party will be better than your kids’, and I don’t need to think I need to be more fashionable, and I don’t need to be making Chocolate Chip Lava Cookies. (Mmmm…) There are people on Facebook that it wouldn’t kill me to unfriend.

Because the less I see, the less I covet.

I want to be satisfied with the life God has given me, with its perfect imperfections…and to be more satisfied with Christ Himself…because true contentment isn’t having what I want, but holding Christ as my highest treasure even if I have not.

A New Law

A New Law

by Derek Webb


Don’t teach me about politics and government
Just tell me who to vote for
And don’t teach me about truth and beauty
No, just label my music
And don’t teach me how to live like a free man
No, just give me a new law

I don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
So just bring it down from the mountain to me

I want a new law
I want a new law
Just give me that new law

And don’t teach me about moderation and liberty
I prefer a shot of grape juice
And don’t teach me about loving my enemies
And don’t teach me how to listen to the Spirit
No, just give me a new law

I don’t wanna know if the answers aren’t easy
So just bring it down from the mountain to me

I want a new law
I want a new law
Just give me that new law

‘Cause what’s the use in trading a law you can never keep
For one you can that cannot get you anything
So do not be afraid

Do not be afraid…

Melt my Heart

Watching Casper and Dawnette become buddies is the sweetest thing to watch. Here are some pictures I caught…(excuse me for the mediocre “camera-phone” shots).


Avert your eyes if you are a neat-freak…because I let my kids play with a box of small plastic cups and bowls when I am cooking. It’s worth it, I tell you. Moms get it. (One negative side effect is it melts baby girls’ hands.)


…aaaand this is what usually happens about 5 seconds later…and Papa cleans it up when he comes home…


Sometimes, they just destroy.


This is one of the best parts of having 2 small ones. But fact: Casper is not having as much fun as Dawnette.


This is how Casper “kisses” his little sister. I like to think he’s just germ-conscious.


The kiss worked.


A 6 month old girl’s attention span = 22 month old boy’s attention span.


Just giving her a hand to speed things up.


Casper got jealous that Dawnette got a ponytail and he didn’t, so I did what any good mother would do… I mean, look how happy he is.

Here’s just a video of Dawnette when she was learning with crawl. Poor Cat has to deal with yet another fanatic baby.