Another Look by David Faust
Most of the cultural ills that afflict us today could be cured by better theology and less
Me-ology puts self first and squeezes God in if any room remains.
Me-ology needs no holy book to define its rules, no sacred script to guide its adherents. Each person becomes his own final authority. Me-ology requires no careful thought or deliberate decision, for it comes naturally to most of us; it’s the path we gravitate toward with easy abandon. It focuses on the pursuit of personal happiness rather than seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
Me-ology defies and rebels, while theology calls us to submit and surrender.
Me-ology leads to small thinking, ego-centric living, and myopic vision, while healthy theology inspires us with a higher purpose, a noble calling, and a sense of hope that even death cannot quench. A life focused on self is as shallow as a child’s wading pool, while a life infused with the love of God is as wide and deep as the ocean.
In our me-oriented society, “what is right” takes a backseat to “What’s in it for me?”
Me-ology even infects the church. Instead of engaging in corporate worship with the goal of giving God our best, the main question has become “What will I get out of it?” There’s less emphasis on “Bless the Lord” and more on “Bless me, Lord.” Less focus on personal holiness and more on personal happiness. Less concern about what the Lord deserves from us and more about what we demand from him.
Me-ology is not limited to the old or to the young. It afflicts every generation, as it has done since the dawn of history. It was whispered by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. It provoked the Israelites to rebel in the wilderness. It led to chaos when “everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 21:25). Over the centuries it has divided kingdoms, torn apart marriages, and separated individuals from God.
Bob Walters writes a weekly column for a newspaper in Carmel, Indiana. Recently he wrote the following in an article called “Blurry Survey Sees God”:
A much-ballyhooed news story recently reported that 95 percent of Americans, according to the new book America’s Four Gods, have an opinion what God is like.
In a (presumably random) survey of 1,648 adults, God was broken into four pieces—Authoritative, Benevolent, Critical, Distant. ’Which of these is how you view God?’ was the question. The results came back evenly divided among the four. Five percent of respondents said they are atheists or agnostics.
And that, the authors claim, is how Americans see God. I would guess, too, that the secular news media were happy to see that mystery solved: ‘Here’s what people think of God. Next question.’
Oh dear. We do like to put God in a box, don’t we?
Here’s some news: We can’t divide God.
Presumably the comforting aspect of the survey for non-believers is that God can be a ‘settled thing.’ Here’s what God is, here’s what people think, here’s how people behave who think about God in certain ways. If we can just define God . . . we can get on with the truly important affairs of our lives. You know, our needs.
While I am thankful and joyful to have God to think about, to praise, to worship, man’s opinion of God does not define God; God defines God.
Better to ask, ‘What is God’s opinion of man?’
Indeed. And when we ask that question, we should prepare to exchange our feeble me-ology for a robust theology that acknowledges sin and salvation, responsibility and righteousness, faith and repentance, judgment and grace.
“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). And there is a way of salvation whose name is not Me, but Jesus.
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