Friday, May 30, 2008

A Spacious God

The ‘politics of love’ as commented on by Malcolm brought to mind the visit to NZ of the Japanese theologian Kosuke Koyama and one of his sermons entitled ‘A spacious God’.

In the revelation of God in Jesus Christ there is something wonderfully universal and we celebrate the coming of the gospel for the ‘whosoever will may come’. How many of us remember the Sunday School song, ‘Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight, Jesus loves the children of the world’.
The creative activity of God gave rise to all the great civilizations of the past, all the diverse cultures and all the infinite variety, colour and ethnicities of all the remarkable peoples of the world.

The concept of a ‘spacious God’ is wonderfully appealing as it embraces the truth that there is room for all including every species. In contrast the concept of a ‘narrow God’ is alive and well as the history book and in current attitudes referred to by Malcolm. This spaciousness and expansiveness is a statement of the sovereign nature of God, sovereign in human affairs, ecology and cosmology with the proviso that we have been given free will and choice to cooperate with the great purposes of life or not.

Spaciousness associates with it the idea of transcendence and how sorely we need this personally and collectively in a world of growing religious intolerance.
If we know a ‘spacious God’ then we’ll have a ‘spacious mind’. Again the reverse is true. If we have a ‘non spacious God’ then our mind will become ‘not spacious’.
The reality is we become like the God we believe in and if narrow then there can be devastating consequences. The history of religion is full of the terrible evidence of inquisitions, genocides, ethnic cleansings, colonialism, racism, ecological rape and so on. On the individual level we see it in elitism, prejudice and bigotry. How vitally important are our images and beliefs about God.

Please God help us to have a ‘spacious mind’ in which we can honestly reflect on our religious behaviours.

2 comments:

  1. I like it... though I'm a little biased to this sort of thinking.

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  2. I like what you're saying - it fits with the God I'm getting to know. But how does it fit with the passage in Matt 7:13-14 (gate to life is narrow and few will find it)?
    I think I struggle with how well we're directing people toward that gate
    . . . I guess it's a fine line between unconditional love that points people to God and a broad acceptance of everything without God being behind that attitude.

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