The Divine Teddy Bear?

We live in an age where everyone has an opinion, but opinions themselves are not knowledge. As people begin to discover that God is not the angry tyrant religion paints him to be, many swing to an opposite misunderstanding of him that characterizes God as a big teddy bear who is always just soft and cuddly. Reading Scripture and knowing God as a real personality in his universe will give you a fuller understanding of who he really is. He is a God of great tenderness and affection, but also a God who lives inside the truth and whose purpose is to make right all that Satan and sin have twisted to their own aims. There is no real love apart from truth and transformation and that bring us into his glory and frees us to love others in the world without exploiting them.

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  1. One of my favorite quotes (and I can’t remember who originated it) is, “There is the God we want, and there is the God who is. And the two are rarely ever the same”.

  2. Great podcast yet again, guys, well done. And thank you for letting us share in your conversation together every week. I don’t know how hard it is for you to produce this each week, but I so appreciate being able to listen and I look forward to every Saturday morning when I can download the next episode and eavesdrop again on your conversation.

    Today I was reminded again of Wayne’s story of Sara and the bees when you were talking about God’s anger. I have come to believe that He is never, never, never angry with us, but He is angry with the darkness that causes us to do the things that we do. The darkness comes from the broken relationship that He had established for us, before the foundation of the earth, and which was broken when Adam and Eve made the decision to believe the lie of the enemy rather than trust in the truth and faithfulness of God.

    That broken relationship has caused all mankind to fall further and further away from the only One who can show us a perfect way to live. As Wayne often says, ‘what part of God do we not understand, that if we did understand it we wouldn’t do what we do’. So when we fail, whether it is in huge things – like bringing a country to its financial knees, or small – like telling a fib, it is our lack of knowledge of God that causes us to do that and God is angry at the darkness that has caused that lack of knowledge.

    The other thing that I have come to learn and am still learning, is that rather than seeing traumas or catastrophies in my life as bad and to be avoided at all cost, I now see those events as God inviting me on an adventurous journey to see even more, how faithful He is in the midst of ithat experience. That is why I loved the message that was presented by Brene Brown which you mentioned last week. Even though she isn’t speaking from a Christian view point she is encouraging us to embrace our experiences in vulnerability and authenticity, (and I would add – hand in hand with Father), which allows grace, joy and gratitude into our lives.

  3. We’ve enjoyed the Brene Brown video and shown it to quite a few folks because it has stimulated some wonderful conversations about shame and vulnerability. Its sad to me that social science is just now (supposedly) understanding the power of shame. Has the church not known for a long time. But religion, out of its own twisted need, distorted the truth about the cross being curative instead of appeasement. Exacerbating our guilt and shame is( my opinion) really why there is so little difference between the experience of the believers on the planet versus non believers. The only thing that I have that lifts guilt and shame off of me is Jesus. Every time someone sins against me its Jesus in me who absorbs it and takes the hit and I get to become a part of the Divine Conspiracy and the Kingdom of God is expanded on a fallen planet.
    I loved Debbie’s description of the snow ball fight. I can remember similar moment in my own life where grace allowed me to push a pause button on my grief and make an exchange for Joy. We rush people through grief because its not ok for us and its our own discomfort we are trying to relieve. Like Brad’s analogy of the crying baby. No one is really ok or good when an infant is inconsolable. When we die to that tyranny of self it expands our capacity to stay with people in their grief. And again the Kingdom is expanded.

  4. Your discussion about God being a real bear versus just a teddy bear put me in mind of C.S. Lewis and his brilliant (inspired?) allegory of Aslan. Not a tame lion, you know. Throughout the Narnia series we see different sides of Aslan. He is comforting, as when Lucy is upset about Edmund’s capture by the White Witch; he will rescue Edmund at great cost to himself. But he can also be…stern? In “Prince Caspian,” when Lucy tries to make excuses for why she is not following Aslan, he does not indulge her deception but, rather, guides her to the truth: she must follow him whether the others believe her or not. Tough stuff but no less wonderful.

  5. I wasn’t the snowball lady though I do have a story to tell of sheer joy when the rest of the world turned away yet maybe another day.

    Wayne and Brad I did sense my use of the word shame may not have been the best one when I described how I feel when I violate love, and listening further to some more of Brene Browns video’s she made a comparison between shame and guilt, to which guilt seemed to fit much better. I do feel guilt when I trample love and I go to the only place I know for its cure. In Him. then back to whoever it was who got soaked with my fallout.

    Someone who has no shame or guilt for that matter – scary! In the last few weeks that bloke I spoke about has been reading the Bible and he is getting some amazing insights so it seems even the narcisstic are not to far from His reach either.

  6. I just want to say here that Wayne and Brad, I do enjoy listening to your conversation on this podcast. Thank you for sharing it with us. And Wayne, ever since I “discovered” you, I thought you had a lot of wisdom. But now that I know you’re a Packer fan…. I KNOW you do!!! Go Pack!! ;D

  7. Just like so many times before, thank you so much for this podcast! I loved and identified with all that you talked about, and I especially loved and apprecitated hearing Claudia’s email….In a world where so many of us can identify with pain and loss, we are always encouraged by knowing and understanding the true nature of Father’s love, and how we can embrace the joy of living in the moment, (“true joy comes from the relationships and the things that come from God”). Instead of focusing on adversity, we relinquish to Him the things we don’t like, and trust Him not only to change our attitudes, but also, as our loving Father, help us to see and embrace all the simple joys of life.
    I loved the way Brene Brown put it, “We are all born with an innate eccho of God’s heart for connection”.

  8. Podcasts have been great the past couple of weeks. Mostly I think because they have challenged me. I enjoyed this topic, but I would like to see a follow up (even if you have already discussed it in the past.) To define what is truth, or to explain how truth cannot be defined. That is something I struggle with.

    Having met you, Wayne, briefly here in Kenya, I believe you to be an honest follower of Jesus. I believe the same about myself. However our lives are radically different. For sure what is true for you is not always so for me, and vice versa. I was sitting with a Rasta friend yesterday eating lunch and being 2 or three gathered in His name. We discussed so much, many things we saw eye to eye on. A few we did not. Like I do not necessarily believe haile selassie was a descendant of Solomon and a revelation of God here on Earth. Yet my friend does. He also is convinced that there is a small group of uber-rich people controlling the world, I’m not convinced.

    How do we define truth in those situations? Or is it even necessary?

    As for my friend and I we understand that these differences make us unique, and that we have something to learn about God, or Jah in his case, from each other. I believe that I cannot know the Truth, Jesus, without this friend, or you, or Brad, or other’s that are in my life.

    Enough rambling, still would like to hear that show.

  9. Great conversation… When Brad was talking about infants fussing in their crib even after the parents have checked and determined nothing really needing attention is transpiring a thought crossed my mind.

    Babies/toddlers probably well believe they are the center of their universe because their awareness and comprehension of this place they have been born into is still so limited.
    Being pre-verbal and not able to process and express what they are discomforted over, along with their inability to see the bigger picture of the world they have been born into, would lend to the difficulty of comprehending that the appearance of the lack of ‘personal’ attention rendered by the caregiver in certain circumstances does not equate to a lack of love and concern for their welfare. Actually, the opposite would be truer in that not catering to every whim is ultimately more beneficial to the child’s maturation.
    As the need for certain specific attention changes with growth and the parent begins to integrate discipline (not punishment, but training to avoid the over indulgent child) hopefully said child also develops the understanding that the parent is there, still loving them and providing for their needs which change in accordance with their growth and understanding.

    Papa is the perfect parent, knowing when we need that extra special touch and knowing how to bring us to the fullness of maturity in Him. Learning to trust in and lean on that understanding facilitates the process on our part. Avoiding the ‘fussy’ impatient and self centered attitude ruling over our minds allows us to focus more intently on Papa’s leading and receive the benefit of resting in His perfect love for us. No need for us to repaint the face of God according to our take on situations. It allows us the freedom to see and understand more clearly the true face of our father.

    Thanks for that sling shot of freedom cast my way…. Be blessed.

  10. I very much ‘disagree’ — civilly — but I must say that HONESTLY — Yes, God does allow suffering and chastisement and trials and the fire– this is what purifies us ALL! And this is the way~~~ and we must be willing to suffer for each other and give up everything~~ for this is LOVE!

    This is growing up~~~ you are right about that!! (the older gentleman said that :))!!

    I am not saying this for any ‘honor of man’: I am just saying this to be real and honest with you!

    I also don’t claim to like it! That’s OK– God knows I don’t and He is with me still :)– I love Him! He’s working on my attitudes, my thoughts, everything I think or anything I hold as more important (my self) than Him!!

    It’s a process– He’s Patient (long-suffering) and kind……… and a Great Dad!

    Blessings always in Christ

    “He who heeds correction gains understanding” ~ that’s encouraging to me!

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