You’re Right … And You’re Right, Too

I must have seen the movie, “Fiddler On the Roof,” a half-dozen times. In one scene the portly lead character, Tevye, is in a lively discussion with a group of his Jewish neighbors.

One of them states a strong opinion about whatever the subject was. Tevye looks at him and says, “You’re right!”

A man across the small circle delivers a contrary opinion. “You’re right, too!” Tevye says.

Someone else says, “Wait. He’s right (indicating the first man) and he’s right (indicating the second). They can’t both be right.”

Tevye thinks a minute and says, “And you’re right, too!”

That’s the way I feel when we start arguing about God. One says, “God is great and powerful, glorious and mighty. He’s all-powerful, all-present, all-knowing, eternal and good.”

And with Tevye I say, “You’re right.”

Another says, “Jesus is my best friend. I talk to Him like I talk to you. Why just this morning I was saying, ‘You know, Lord, I’ve got this ache in my toe. And did you see how those people acted towards me at church last night? And by the way, Lord, I’d sure appreciate it if you could help me get a parking place and (chatter, chatter, chatter) and could you wait a minute, Lord, I’ve got to go to the bathroom? I’ll be right back.’”

And with Tevye I say, “You’re right too. (Kind of).”

How can God fill the far corners of the universe yet be near enough to hear my weakest cry?

You’re right, too! He’s all that and a lot more. He’s God. Continue reading

Is God Mean, Indulgent … Or What?


I’ve decided to declare a universal decree for the world. Are you ready for it?

Here it is: if you are 60 years old or more, you can repeat yourself and no one can say anything about it.

Today, I’m going to invoke my universal rule and repeat a statement that I read which comes from one of the darlings of the new atheists, Richard Dawkins. It’s already been in Coffee Stains once.

Dawkins in his book, God Delusion tries to mock God: “Such a bandwidth! God, who may not have a brain made of neurons, or a CPU made of silicon, but if he has the powers attributed to him he must have something far more elaborately and non-randomly constructed than the largest brain or the largest computer we know.”

You know, if you’re going to make fun of someone you’ve got to do better than that. God fills the universe but He’s there when the smallest baby screams, “hello,” to the world.

Mr. Dawkins, God is so much more than that.

What is God like anyway? We say, “all-powerful, everywhere present, all-knowing and eternal.” That’s a good start but it’s not enough. Imagine someone like that with the personality of Adolph Hitler. We’d be in big trouble.

So there’s something else about Him that’s vital to our well-being: He’s good, completely good.

I’m not sure we preachers clear things up for people either. Some read parts of the Bible and preach a scary God. It’s true we must fear (respect) the Lord, but He’s more than simply a far away God waiting to zap your slightest failing that some would have you believe in.

Others major on God’s mercy but the God they come up with is more like an over-year indulgent parent: “Now, you should stop that sweetheart or I’ll have to tell your dad and he might try to make you eat your green beans.”

Honestly, I’ve read so many opinions of God that I’m sometimes a bit confused. It’s impossible to reduce humans to one single characteristic and in a sense it’s the same with God. Continue reading