The American Evangelical “Christian” church has much to answer for in people’s confusion about God. After all, their central tenet is this:
God made you.
You’re a sinner.
Because God is perfect and you’re a sinner, He can’t stand you and recoils at your presence.
The only way He can tolerate you is if you ask Jesus to step between you and God. If you don’t, God will send you to eternal hell. If you do, God will accept you and you can live with Him for eternity.
This is how God loves you.
It’s no wonder people find difficulty with a God like this — no decent human parent would treat their own children this way because unconditional love doesn’t . . . place conditions. And yet American Evangelical Christianity thrives upon them.
The artwork, Zephyr, is a visual example of one way God, the true God — the Father who reaches out to His children and calls us through eternity to be a part of His household — works with us. It looks like this.
Our life is the boat.
God made the boat. (He knows, when He made the boat, that it has issues, but He made it anyway. To destroy it afterwards because it has issues is foolish on the part of the person building the boat.)
God owns the boat.
The boat needs a captain, and the Owner’s choice is Christ — because, being in close connection with the boat’s owner, Jesus knows all about how the boat runs.
The boat also needs a First Mate (that’s us), working closely with the Captain and the Owner of the boat with the joint goal of sailing the boat through many seas — stormy ones, calm ones, on sunny days and rainy ones, in and out of ports, all around the world. Now the First Mate could choose to act as Captain (and many of us do), but without training and teaching from the Captain, we probably won’t do so well. After all, we start out as babies, with little physical or intellectual ability to sail a boat. We need time, and teaching. Unless that teaching comes from someone who knows and understands the boat, we’ll falter.
The Owner of the boat isn’t going to burn it up because the First Mate won’t recognize the Captain. The Captain isn’t going to throw the First Mate overboard for taking over. Rather, the Owner of the boat and the Captain — because they are sensible, intelligent, and compassionate people — will keep trying to connect with the First Mate to build a cooperative relationship.
What matters is the boat, and that it sails successfully.
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