A Castrated God

Doug Leblanc of Getreligion.org has this commentary on the Newsweek's recent coverage of Left Behind.

He's got some pointed commentary on Newsweek managing editor Jon Meacham's column on Left Behind.

Soon enough, though, he's jumping to conclusions about why people have bought 62 million books in the Left Behind series: "That LaHaye and Jenkins's books are selling so briskly at a time of global chaos suggests that millions are taking refuge in literal renderings of Scripture, seeking a port amid the storm of the present." The coup de grâce comes in Meacham's final paragraph: "Little wonder, then, that so many people are turning to fiction to alleviate the burden of fact."

Meacham may be on to something--not that people are sinking their heads in the sand, as he implies--but that they want something to hold on to, some sign that God is with us in these troubled times.

That was the point that GP Taylor, writer of the British bestseller "Shadowmancer" made when I interviewed him this spring. (His book is now available in the US)

In some comments that didn't make the piece I wrote, he commented on Left Behind, and why the books connect with people. (He said he didn't like the book, but his wife loved them.)

Here's what he said.

Everybody is frightened about where they are going (when they die) No matter who we are--Jew, Christian, Muslim--we all want to know where we are going. That’s why there has been such a phenomenal rise in the occult. It’s because people need reassurance as to what’s going to happen.

And a lot of the liberal churches have neutered, they have castrated God. They’ve taken all the power away from God. And a castrated God is no use to anybody, because you have taken away his power to redeem

Yet with the occult, they offer a God who is practical, who can alter circumstances—-who is there for them.

This is what New Testament Christianity is all about--a God who was powerful and willing to get involved.

I think when they read Left Behind, they are thinking,. Yeah—this could be true—this could be what happens. This is exciting –this is a God of power.

Look at the scene where they write about where the 2 prophets are killed in Jerusalem. That is a fantastic scene—when the prophets are killed and then they are resurrected. When they come back to life. We are talking about a God who is going to do that at the end of time.

I don't think it's just liberal churches that "castrate" God. Conservatives do as well--taking out almost any reference to Jesus's teaching about justice, about how hard it is for rich people to get into heaven, about sin, etc.

But Taylor's right. A castrated God, a tame God is no good to anyone in the end.


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