I am a practicing Christian – and by practicing, I mean that I am literally working at being a follower of Jesus every day, and I try to get better at as I grow older. Sometimes I hit the mark – sometimes I don’t. I – like any person of faith – am a work in progress, and I say that with humility. I know people who are way ahead of me – they are my role models – and know people who are behind me – I am their cheerleader.
One of the theological “truths” I have come to believe in – if such a thing can be discerned by human beings – is that God is not to blame for most of what we blame God for. God created an imperfect world, and our imperfect nature is at the root of most of what is wrong in the world. Then there is chaos – oh, how I believe in that – which we cannot control. There is also some level of genetic destiny. I can cover my eyes with blue contact lenses, but my eyes will still be green.
So we need to stop blaming God for that which we have caused. Let’s stop using God language when talking about politicians. No president – Trump, Obama, Bush – all the way to Washington – has been selected by God. I don’t care how often you say it, it won’t be true. Some presidents have shown their faith in the way they talk and live – some have not. I honestly don’t care what religion a politician believes in – if they believe at all – I just want them to do what is right for all the people in this country, and I want them to uphold and defend the Constitution. Period.
And let’s stop blaming God for climate change – stop saying God is making the seas rise as a part of God’s plan (yes, there are some who believe this). Climate change is partly a natural occurrence, usually taking place over 10’s or 100’s of thousands (or millions) of years. Human beings have dramatically escalated the warming of the planet in an incredibly short time. This is science, not faith. Deal with it.
I am an advocate of free will – I believe God gave free will to us and we need to use it well. We usually don’t, but we could if we wanted to. You cannot have God in control of everything AND free will at the same time. Let’s stop blaming God and, instead, thank God for this beautiful creation, each other, and the great gift of choosing. If we keep waiting for God to do everything, we will be buried in a theocracy as we watch the waters rise above our heads. God gave us a garden to tend. Let’s tend it together.
Steve Ohnsman has been the pastor of Calvary United Church of Christ (an Open & Affirming Congregation) since 1999. He has a BA in Religion & Philosophy from Wilmington College (OH), and MDiv from Drew Theological School (NJ), a DMin in Christian Ethics from United Theological Seminary (OH), and a PhD in Leadership from Alvernia University (PA).