And your parents embarrassed you in public?
Maybe your dad wore his knee socks and birkenstocks to the mall, or your mom picked you up from school in her hair curlers, and from there on out, you insisted on being dropped off a half mile from your destination, just to keep them out of the sight of your peers. You were convinced they were holding you back. You were so humiliated to have them as parents.
“Mom, you’re embarrassing me! I swear, as soon as you are old enough, I’m putting you in a home.”
We whined and complained, and a few of us got our revenge as teenagers, as we generally took up the hobby of acting like clowns in public. The rest of you just unknowingly embarrassed your parents. Trust me, you embarrassed them at least a couple of times.
You know what the modern church’s problem is?
We go to church and sing songs and hear messages and worship God. But we just do that in church.
Outside of church, we are horrifyingly, mortifyingly embarrassed by God.
Just Stay Where My Friends Can’t See You
It was one thing to hang out with your family at home when we were teenagers. Home was a safe place, where even though you grumbled, you could play a board game with the lame old people and preserve your dignity with your friends.
Then, we saw our friends and complained about how lame our families were.
But once our parents got out, where our peers could see them, we had to cover. We had to shush them and get them back in the car as quickly as possible. We dreaded the day when our families humiliated us in public.
It’s the same way with God.
God, You Have Lost Facebook Privileges
See, the modern church has an image to keep up. We need to be friendly and accepting and inviting and we’re so afraid of looking backwards or hateful or whatever turns “seekers” off.
But we have this God.
And when God says He is our “Father,” we have to remember that our fathers embarrassed us from time to time.
And sometimes, God doesn’t act the way we want Him to. People in the Bible weren’t ashamed to say it. When Jeremiah saw Jerusalem get sacked, and the temple was knocked down, and the people are so desperate that they’ve resorted to cannibalism, he said, “God did that.”
But Christians today have an unspoken rule, a conspiracy to cover up. Whenever God acts up, or lets bad things happen, we cover for Him. We tell people that God wasn’t responsible. Because God is always cheery and love and full of rainbows and He never gets mad or punishes people or lets terrible things happen.
I’m not saying Pat Robertson isn’t ridiculous. But when he suggests that a disaster is God’s retribution, it’s like the rest of us feel the absolute need to make sure no one believes that, because that’s heresy. The message is preached ever louder that God wants nothing but your absolute happiness, prosperity and self esteem, while taking a permanent marker to all the embarrassing crap that God’s actually said.
We spend an incredible amount of time being embarrassed of God, like He’s parading around in His holy bathrobe, just when we bring our friends over. We feel the need to apologize to people for God, explain Him away, cover for Him, anything but admit that God will do whatever He wants, even if we don’t like it.
Putting God In the Nursing Home
That’s why we put God a home, just as soon as we got the chance…sorry, assisted living center.
The church is like God’s nursing home. We can keep tabs on God there, because the doors are locked. Keep Him medicated and sedate, and wait for the clock to run out so we can collect our inheritance that we deserve for all the years of loving care we gave Him. We can’t have Him escaping, wandering the streets. He might do something to embarrass us, like strip naked on the street corner while loudly ranting about the voices in His head.
Sure, we’ll listen to God’s rambling, incoherent stories in the church / home once a week, so we feel like we’re putting in our time. Maybe we’ll even quietly contemplate the possibility that God meant what He said, that He allows bad things to happen for good reason. But we can’t let that message get out. What would people say?
And the whole time God’s rambling on, we almost never consider that maybe we embarrass Him just as much as He embarrasses us.
What do you think? Do we have a problem with being embarrassed by God? Have you ever been embarrassed by what God has said or done?