Bullistic

bull

In majesty he is like a firstborn bull; 
his horns are the horns of a wild ox. 
With them he will gore the nations, 
even those at the ends of the earth. (Deuteronomy 33:17)

Most of us want a nice God.  HEAR O ISRAEL, THE LORD YOUR GOD IS SWELL.  We prefer an agreeable supreme being, one who is amiable, engaging, sympathetic.  We want our deity to show some class, for crying out loud.  Nothing’s more awkward than having a few gods over for cocktails only to have Mr. Alpha start growling and pushing everybody around.  I mean, is it too much to ask that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob be polite once in a while?

Forget it.  Our God insists on misbehaving.  It’s not enough for him to be the best of the celestial power-players.  It’s not enough for him to come in first in the swimsuit competition.  It’s not enough for him to get credit for inventing sex or to get himself thanked ad nauseum at the Grammy’s.  No.  He has to freaking bulldoze the competition, to flatten the polytheistic landscape.  He’s the original poster boy for slash and burn religion.  Let’s face it, our guy does not play well with others.

The God of the Bible is problematic for us tolerant-tipsy, diversity-drunk sophisticates.  We want to be reasonable; he starts smashing the china.  We like affirming spiritual chat; he bellows like a black Angus.  We like schmoozing; he likes arm wrestling.  We want fondue; he demands shish ke·bab.  No matter what, he has to the big shot.  When it comes to culture, the High God can be such a lowbrow.

But what to do?  We can set him at a corner table with a little communion wine and hope the beautiful people don’t notice, but, sure as shootin, sometime during the evening he’s going get a little testy and mess up the party.  He always does.  But then again, he is our God—horns and all.  Even though he’s a complete social maladroit, the Almighty can pull off a great joke once in a while.  (Remember the plagues?  Now that was some funny stuff.)  And, to tell the truth, we secretly kind of enjoy watching him beat the hell out of those other guys.

Bully for us, baby.

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