HEALING: God’s Twenty-Thousand-Year Pout by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

Healing Our Image of God

God's Twenty-Thousand-Year Pout by Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

From: Good Goats

My tendency to read the vengeful punishment language in scripture literally came in part from a common understanding of the teaching of Saint Anselm (1033–1109).  In Redemptive Intimacy, Dick Westley quotes theologian Walter Imbiorski who describes how Anselm’s thinking has often been caricatured by popular Christian teaching:

You see, part of the difficulty is that most of us are caught up emotionally in what I would call Anselmian Salvation Theology, which goes something like this.  God created the world.  Adam and Eve sinned.  God got pretty damn sore, goes into a 10,000 year pout, slams the gates of Heaven and throws the scoundrels out.  So he’s up there pouting and about 5,000 years ago by and the Son comes up and gives him the elbow and says: “Hey, Dad, now is the time to forgive those people down there.”  God says, “No.  I don’t like them, they offended my divine majesty, they stay out.  Let’s make another galaxy instead!”  Five thousand more years go by and the Son comes up and says: “Aw, come on, Dad, let’s forgive them!  Look, I tell you what I’m going to do.  If you will love them again, I’ll go down there and become one of them, then you’ll have to love them because I’ll be one of them.”  God looks at the Son and says: “Don’t bank on it.  That doesn’t turn me on too much at all.”  So the Son replies, “All right, God-Father, I’ll tell you what I’m going to do.  I’ll raise the ante.  I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse!  I’ll not only go down there and become one of them, I’ll suffer for them, real blood – you know how that turns you on, Dad!  How about it?”  And God says, “Now you’re talking.  But it’s got to be real torture and real blood – no God-tricks you understand.  You’ve got to really suffer.  And if you’ll do that then I’ll forgive them.  But it they stray off the straight and narrow just that much – ZAP – I’m going to send them to hell so fast their heads will swim.”  And that is what we have been calling the “good news” of the Gospel.

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