at the death of fellow artiste Shane in St Matthew's this week.
Today we have become timid in our imaging of God. We think it is radical and risqué to even call God ‘Her’. Our images of God as loving and inclusive do not do justice to the God Jesus painted who is offensive to the keepers of the status quo, religious or secular. Indeed the concepts of God as transforming love or divine energy unless earthed in risky imagery and stories are a diluted insipid version of the offensive God Jesus was shoving into the faces
of his opponents.
We also need to rethink our vision of inclusive love - not that tolerance, justice, and understanding between peoples, races, religions, genders and orientations is an unworthy goal. Yet the vision often has an underlying premise of us the powerful letting the powerless in, or us the powerless wanting the powerful to invite us in. To use the image of an all-inclusive dining table with us all sitting around together, we need to ask where this table is located, and who has set the menu.
Or put another way, where and with whom is this offensive God? Remember the parable of the lost sheep, and the one after it with God as a sweeping woman. This God leaves the 99 well-feed and respectable church and business leaders, and goes AWOL. This God of Jesus doesn’t do normal, or expected, or civilised.
This God could be found on the banks of the Brisbane River three weeks ago when a group of gay friends grieving a young man’s death threw high heels into the water. God threw one of Hers in too.
This God was blowing raspberries at the back of a meeting of the ruling council of the Northern Irish Free Presbyterian Church when they ousted this week their founder Ian Paisley for his tolerance of Gay Pride marches. She also danced for joy that such a dogged hardliner as Paisley could change, albeit a little.
Will we turn and face this offensive God overcoming the objections of grumblers, and the grumbling inside ourselves?