“Our God can kick your God’s ass.”Posted: July 22, 2012 Filed under: It's a puzzlement | Tags: faith 1 Comment
I work in local small-market radio, both weekends and weekdays. I just got done editing down a two-hour recording of a church service for a one-hour broadcast. This particular service featured the church’s Youth Ministry Team, who had just returned to small-town rural Minnesota from a ministry trip to a Big City (sorry, I didn’t catch which one).
The youth ministers were of course perky, peppy, and sloppin’ over with The Spirit. God bless them, I’m glad they are; I don’t have an issue with that. This was a performance, pure and simple; quite literally preaching to the already converted. I remember when similar youth ministry teams would visit our small-town church when I was a lad. I was always intimidated by their enthusiasm and disregard for embarrassing themselves with their zeal; I always came away feeling that my own faith was inferior to theirs because I didn’t feel compelled to be like “Joliet Jake” Blues and turn cartwheels down the aisle of the church. But to each their own.
Bearing in mind that their goal was to preach to the choir, what got to me after awhile is this song that they sang over and over. Can’t forget the lyrics:
Our God is greater
Our God is stronger
God, you are higher than any other
Our God is healer
Awesome in power
Our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us
Then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us
Then what could stand against?
I dunno. There’s a whole rah-rah element to that song that troubles me. I found myself singing along, “Our God can kick your God’s ass.”
Am I too cynical? Or does this seem kind of like pro wrestling? The WWF approach to theology? Is it necessary to run down someone else’s God in order to worship your own?
To quote columnist Dr. Greg Smith in the excellent blog SoWhatFaith.com:
Do you believe your God or Gods are greater, higher, and stronger than all other Gods? If so, what does this say about other religions? How does this impact your attempts at interfaith dialog? Given Christianity’s history of violence and American Christianity’s uneven (perhaps even unstable) acceptance of its current position in a pluralistic nation, what type of damage do you feel could result from these words? For those who sing them boldly? For how those of other faiths view Christians?
There’s just an over-the-top element to this that annoys me. True believers can be excused their zealotry, I guess; that fades away soon enough, and they’re left with having to carry their faith into day-to-day life – figuring out how to keep the gas bill paid and balancing the checkbook with the spouse. But when one’s faith requires a pro wrestler’s rant about how one’s God is the biggest, meanest, baddest mofo in town – sorry, that’s where I check out.
Actually it reminds me of this bit from “Monty Python’s Meaning Of Life”:
Chaplain: Let us praise God. O Lord…
Congregation: O Lord…
Chaplain: Ooh, You are so big…
Congregation: …Ooh, You are so big…
Chaplain: …So absolutely huge.
Congregation: …So absolutely huge.
Chaplain: Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Congregation: Gosh, we’re all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Chaplain: Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and…
Congregation: And barefaced flattery.
Chaplain: But You are so strong and, well, just so super.