Anne Lamott often quotes her priest friend Tom saying, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
The song and video below by the Michael Gungor band made me think of that quote. We can also create God in our own image when we imagine that God looks like and thinks like us. (“God is not a man. God is not a white man . . . God is not a flag, not even American.”) The assumption that God shares our assumptions and our perspectives on the world is a huge obstacle to true reconciliation and acceptance, whether within a faith or between people of different (or no) religious beliefs. It’s very difficult for people to examine their beliefs about a given group, or people who are different from them – whether it’s African Americans, LGBT people, women, or the poor – when they are convinced that God shares their perspectives on those people. Projecting our beliefs on to God is a powerful reinforcement of privilege and prejudice of all kinds.
Which is why I love this song; In essence it’s a call to people of faith to examine the ways in which they’ve made God into an agent and supporter of privilege and hegemony (which, speaking to Christians, let’s be honest, is so far from what Jesus was all about!).