Modern Americans would probably be shocked by the idea that God might
dirty his hands with evil. They shouldn’t be.
For modern people, God is a comforting concept locked away in a tidy
little container, stashed in the attic of their secular minds. When they
feel hurt, or ill-used, they may trudge up the narrow attic stairway, turn
on the light, gingerly push open the door to
God’s cardboard box, and offer a glimpse of their wounded and battered soul
to the Almighty.
There, embarrassed at their uncharacteristic lapse into weakness and
transparency, they express their pain to God with a trite phrase or two,
before repeating the childhood promise they remember from Sunday school
that all will be made well in the next world.
Relieved, they trudge back downstairs, to the real world.
For God is distant: Better by far not to be too forthcoming about these
little lapses; safer not to mention them to coworkers or friends. Weakness
– even temporarily — is suspect. Expressions of moral outrage, as at the
president’s “inappropriate” adulteries are, well, too judgmental (the only
remaining sin) and the one warranting instant condemnation. Meddling is
dangerous business — after all, Jesus was a great guy — and look what
happened to Him!
Modern man’s God, tucked away in a quaint little closet, busily
scribbling in his scroll “who’s been naughty and nice” is one of life’s
enduring images. God, of course, is confined to the spiritual realm. He
doesn’t busy Himself with the day-to-day machinations of modern society,
young White House interns, or presidential proclivities. This is, after
all, the ’90s!
In a touching and amusing interview with Lucianne Goldberg, the literary
agent at the center of the Monica Lewinsky-Linda Tripp tapes, Ambrose
Unlike the US media, which beg for crumbs of gossip
outside her grand, rambling apartment on the Upper West
Side, she knows what Mr. Clinton actually did with Monica
Lewinsky in the Oval Office. “It’s psychologically
shocking more than anything else. It’s the cruelty of
what he was doing to Monica, the torture of a girl with
low self-esteem who wasn’t strong enough to tell him to
jump in the lake,” she said.
“When the American public hears these tapes, it will be
the final straw that brings home what this whole story
is about: abuse of power.” The tapes: 20 hours of X-
rated pornography recorded on C90 Radio Shack cassettes
by a cheap, voice-activated tape-machine. They are her
own special contribution to the history of the late 20th
century.” ["The Nixon spy who has Clinton taped," 27 Aug
1998, Electronic Telegraph]
Contrary to the pictures of Ms. Lewinsky painted by the Clinton
administration’s taxpayer-supported junkyard lawyers, this one struck home.
The divorced parents, the surrogate father, the cry for closeness; it all
fits. “Just work hard and play by the rules,
“Character doesn’t matter” is a recent mantra. Perhaps it is somewhat
akin to the “new paradigm” whereby unpleasant economic laws no longer apply
to the stock market. The ancient Greeks took somewhat of a different view:
Character is destiny.
Which leads us to the caricature of God described earlier. It’s
popularly accurate, the majority view from the latest polls. But there is
just one flaw: that god doesn’t exist.
In his place is a God who chose to revealed his character in the time
and space of Jewish history within Old Testament; who walked this earth as
Jesus Christ two-thousand years ago, and who takes a rather more “hands-on”
approach to humanity:
For he says to Moses, I will shew mercy to whom I will
shew mercy, and I will feel compassion for whom I will
feel compassion. So then [it is] not of him that wills,
nor of him that runs, but of God that shews mercy.
For the scripture says to Pharaoh, For this very thing
I have raised thee up from amongst [men], that I might
thus shew in thee my power, and so that my name should be
declared in all the earth [Rom 9:15-17].
Later, God promises:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to
confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of
the world to confound the things which are mighty; And
base things of the world, and things which are despised,
hath God chosen, and things which are not, to bring to
nothing things that are: That no flesh should glory in
his presence [1 Cor. 27-29].