Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


In my post on a belief-less Christianity over at the Friendly Atheist, I talked about BYOG (Bring Your Own God).   Some commenters say that BYOG is idolatry, making God in our own image.

The criticism as I understand it, is that the correct image of God has been revealed to us by God himself.  Consult the holy texts.  Moses, Mohammad, and the Apostles already got the divine memo and we just need to read it, believe it, and stay on message.

This was a huge debate when I was in seminary.  Since most images of God had been male (i.e. Father, Son, and Mr. Holy Ghost) expanding the range to include feminine as well as masculine images met with charges of idolatry.   I was on the expand the images team.  I consider myself in good company.

Higher criticism of scriptural texts demythologized them.   This has led an increasing number of people to regard these texts as products of human creativity.   All images of God are our images.   Is there a place for revelation?   Whatever you call it, revelation or evolution, Life is change.

Who decides that revelation stopped somewhere in the past?   I call any claim that revelation (or evolution) has ended, idolatry.  Idolatry is accepting someone else's version of God without doing your homework.

A.A. knows better.
Step 3:  Made a decision to turn our will and our lives our to the care of God as we understood Him [sic].
That is a clear a statement of BYOG as I have heard.   God can be everything from an inner voice, to the community, to gravity, to humanity's emerging aspirations.  It is whatever keeps you sober.  

Another point:  just because you BYOG that doesn't mean you will leave with the same G.   You will meet others who have brought their G or are skeptical about G altogether.  They may have an idea that disturbs you or enlightens you and changes your G.   The various Gs in our various spiritual traditions might provide challenge or comfort to your ideas as well.

Any claims that BYOG is soft-pedaling or idolatrous is missing the point.  BYOG requires spiritual maturity, creativity, courage, and hard work.

So BYOG, my beloveds! You have permission and you are welcome!