At the risk of attracting some slightly odd attention I want to carry on from yesterday’s assertion that God isn’t like us at all. In fact, God can be disturbingly alien.
If you really think about some of the passages in the Bible – the exortation to forgive 70 x 7 for example, which really means, forgive without counting not forgive 490 times and then come down like a tonne of bricks! – something inside you will probably rebel. Or how about the saying that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven? It’s an alien phillosophy, it isn’t a human phillosophy, in fact some people found it so hard to stomach that they killed Jesus for it.
God refuses to do what he’s told by humanity. Hence instead of fasting and being serious and showy about their religion, Jesus and his followers partied and hang out with unsavoury types of people. At the wedding at Cana Jesus delivered something like 240 gallons of the very best wine to people who had already been partying for probably 3 days! God can take a playful approach to what we think should be serious and a serious approach to what we think should be playful. He is quite happy to turn the rhetorics of play on their head. God is alien.
And perhaps this alien nature is why God continually urges the Jewish nation to take care of the alien in their lands. Those religions that take the root of their faith from the Old Testament are told by God to be care-givers to the alien/foreigner, the ones we can’t understand, the ones who are so different. Partly because, through them we can move close to an appreciation of those who are different to ourselves. In short, if we can’t accept and love the alien how can we accept and love God?