Crash Helmets in Church

I am presently reading Practice Resurrection by Eugene Peterson (an author who always challenges me) and Peterson just quoted the following statement from Annie Dillard:

Why do people  in churches seem like cheerful  brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? … On the whole I do not find Christians, outside the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us out to where we can never return. Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk

Reminds me of much of what Mark Buchanan says in Your God is too Safe. The real God of the Bible (YHWH) is not a god to be handled. He is not the god that works things out for your life and guarantees that the harvest will be good this year as long as you know the correct religious rituals. He is not the god who is always on your side of an issue and against your enemy. He is the One Who says “follow me” and then leads us into worlds that we would have never gone to on our own. He is the God Who we need to wear a hard hat around because He often needs to destroy some part of our lives and world, before He builds something much better. He is the God Who says that we only find true life when we loose our life in Him. To quote Mr. Beaver from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

May you and I remember to wear our crash helmets when we approach the true God, and may you and I both run away from images of Him that aren’t this dangerous.

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