That is the God for me


I could never myself believe in God, if it were not for the cross. The only God I believe in is the One Nietzsche ridiculed as ‘God on the cross.’

In the real world of pain,
how could one worship a God
who was immune to it?

I have entered many Buddhist temples in different Asian countries and stood respectfully before the statue of the Buddha, his legs crossed, arms folded, eyes closed, the ghost of a smile playing round his mouth, a remote look on his face, detached from the agonies of the world. But each time after a while I have had to turn away. And in imagination I have turned instead to that lonely, twisted, tortured figure on the cross, nails through hands and feet, back lacerated, limbs wrenched, brow bleeding from thorn-pricks, mouth dry and intolerably thirsty, plunged in Godforsaken darkness.

That is the God for me!
He laid aside his immunity to pain.

He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us. Our sufferings become more manageable in the light of his. There is still a question mark against human suffering, but over it we boldly stamp another mark, the cross that symbolizes divine suffering.

 John R. W. Stott
The Cross of Christ

The God who loses arguments

The God of the Jews and Christians is unlike any other god. Dispute with Jupiter and you’ll have one of those yellow-painted wooden lightening bolts shoved down your throat. Talking back to Allah is likely to get you into even more trouble than talking back to my sixth-grade teacher, Mr. Davidovitch. Try arguing with Buddha and he’ll laugh at you derisively for treating any conversation as if it referred to something real.

But when you start arguing with Yahweh,
he smiles, rolls up his anthropocentric sleeves,
and starts to look interested.

The strangest thing is that he likes losing the argument even more than he likes winning them. Jacob, the trickster, is beloved of God. And Abraham didn’t just get away with asking, “What about if there are only twenty righteous men in the city?” The God of the Jews and Christians is the only God that allows his followers to hear him say, “Oh, all right, you win.”

–Conrad Gempf

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