Thursday, June 29, 2006

Relevance, the New Utilitarianism

Found via Dissonant Bible, who sent me to somewhere that led me to . . .

From Connexions:

Indeed I’d suggest that the fundamental malaise of contemporary Christianity is precisely its substitution of a problem-solving God for a God who is ultimate mystery.

For many people, God is a god who answers my questions, satisfies my desires and supports my interests. A user-friendly god you can access and download at the push of a prayer-key, a god you can file and recall when you need him (which gives “Save As” a whole new meaning!). A utility deity for a can-do culture. Evangelism becomes a form of marketing, and the gospel is reduced to a religious commodity.

The real God is altogether different. He is not a useful, get-it, fix-it god. He is not “relevant”, he is the measure of relevance. Indeed best think of God as good for nothing and totally unnecessary, playful rather than practical - and whose game is hide-and-seek: “such a fast / God,” as the poet R. S. Thomas puts it, “always before us and / leaving as we arrive.” The Bible speaks of God as a desert wind, too hot to handle, too quick to catch. A God who is only ever pinned down - on the cross.


  1. Thanks for sharing that...I went to the blog and read the whole's making my brain tingle.

  2. I love this statement, "He is not “relevant”, he is the measure of relevance. " Yes, we have made God too 'common' and therefore our religious experience often seems less than meaningful.