God made-to-order?


You see, we really only have two options: flee from the world behind locked doors, or engage the world from faith, hope and love in the power of the Holy Spirit.  If we decide to live as a blessing to the world, like Jesus did, then we shouldn’t be surprised if we encounter suffering as we proclaim God’s peace.  For no disciple is greater than his teacher, and if Jesus suffered for the sake of the world, we will suffer as well.  Some might want a safe God, a God made-to-order, but this kind of God never inspires awe, worship or sacrifice.

JR Woodward, “Creating a Missional Culture: Equipping the Church for the Sake of the World” page 125.

Every now and then I enjoy McDonalds.

Don’t judge me… Winking smile

I walk up to the counter, order my supersized Big Mac’ value meal and I customize it.  I hate pickles, they are gross.  And I hate onions because they are also gross.  So I tell the ‘doesn’t get enough credit for what they do’ fast food worker to hold off on the grossness.

They make my customized burger and I enjoy it.

We are used to customizing things for our benefit.  So, why wouldn’t we do the same with the God we worship.  Sometimes we do it on purpose.  Sometimes we don’t really know that we are doing it in the first place.

When we engage our culture and neighbourhood’s may we be grounded in our God who inspires awe, worship and sacrifice.

Don’t attempt to customize God.  Explore the mystery of who God is, and what God is doing in your particular place and time.

What is the difference between customizing God and exploring who God is?  What are the implications?


  1. jharader · October 23, 2012

    This makes me think of one of my favorite quotes. Anne Lamott says, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

    We are a culture of customization.

    • Chris Lenshyn · October 23, 2012

      That is a brilliant quote. LOVE IT. Anne Lamott is awesome! Thanks.


  2. wwb · October 23, 2012

    This goes along with what I’ve been thinking this past week. Christians say that you can have a personal relationship with God…then they get in the way. Who am I to say you have to have pickles and onions in your hamburger.

    • Chris Lenshyn · October 24, 2012

      Sometimes we need other people to let us know if we are off our rocker. This is a double edged sword however. Because sometimes personal agenda and religious conformity get in the way of keeping one another accountable in following in the footsteps of Jesus.

      Community is tough, but it is important. And some communities are just nuts, which is also unfortunate.

  3. Jordan · October 24, 2012

    I think part of this discussion is the importance of community. If we keep on with the Big Mac analogy, would you put onions on your burger if it was really important to your neighbour to do so? Perhaps your neighbour is an onion farmer, and his livelihood depends on the consumption of onions. I know I’m pushing it (hey, it was your analogy, not mine!), but I think the question is important. Are there theological constructs that we should hang on to because it is important to the community that we do so, even if we personally do not find them important?

    How do we communally discover who God is, without being frustrated at others who veer off in different directions?

    • Chris Lenshyn · October 24, 2012

      Ah, the inevitable analogy breakdown…

      One of the needed critiques of process/contextual theology is identifying the temptation to put God in a box and whip God out, customized and made to order to suit a particular time and place and need. We need to understand that God is big enough (and more) without the customization.

      It is the task of community (Anabaptist foundation) to discern what God is doing in a particular time and place and participate in those places without conveniently leaving things out that are foundational who God is etc…

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