HEALING: Good Old Uncle George by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

Healing Our Image of God

Good Old Uncle George by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

From: Good Goats

I (Dennis) grew up with an image of God that resembled Good Old Uncle George, as described by Gerard Hughes.

God was a family relative, much admired by Mum and Dad, who described him as very loving, a great friend of the family, very powerful and interested in all of us.  Eventually we are taken to visit “Good Old Uncle George.”  He lives in a formidable mansion, is bearded, gruff, and threatening.  We cannot share our parents’ professed admiration for this jewel in the family.  At the end of the visit, Uncle George addressed us.  “Now listen, dear,” he begins, looking very severe, “I want to see you here once a week, and if you fail to come, let me just show you what will happen to you.”  He then leads us down to the mansion’s basement.  It is dark, becomes hotter and hotter as we descend, and we begin to hear unearthly screams.  In the basement there are steel doors.  Uncle George opens one.  “Now look in there, dear,” he says.  We see a nightmare vision, an array of blazing furnaces with little demons in attendance, who hurl into the blaze those men, women, and children who failed to visit Uncle George or to act in a way he approved. “And if you don’t visit me, dear, that is where you will most certainly go,” says Uncle George.  He then takes us upstairs again to meet Mum and Dad.  As we go home, tightly clutching Dad with one hand and Mum with the other, Mum leans over us and says, “And now don’t you love Uncle George with all your heart and soul, mind and strength?”  And we, loathing the monster, say, “Yes, I do,” because to say anything else would be to join the queue at the furnace.  At a tender age religious schizophrenia has set in and we keep telling Uncle George how much we love him and how good he is and that we want to do only what pleases him.  We observe what we are told are his wishes and dare not admit, even to ourselves, that we loathe him.

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