The good news is that I believe today's post won't cause any more damage to either teeth or furniture because these things are perhaps a bit more agreeable or, at least, not blasphemous like yesterday's post came across. We shall see.
Concerning the event of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice his son -- "God had bugled a chilling note, a warning call to Abraham. It was an illusion for parents to believe they owned their children, God declared. All human life came from Him and was ultimately His to reclaim. He was in charge of who lived or died, and nothing could stand in His way." (pg. 243)
Speaking of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS) which (speaking of gnawing on furniture) I wrote about back in October -- "To these ten thousand or so believers, Sarah's offer of Hagar to her husband is evidence of her heroic devotion to God. Every first wife should be a Sarah, willing to share her husband with many partners. Every man should be an Abraham, willing to shoulder the responsibility of many wives." (pg. 107)
About the ram God provided as a substitute for Isaac -- "There is a tradition that this creature was not an ordinary ram but was one that God had created during the first week of the world and had saved for exactly this purpose, the rescue of Isaac. Certainly, it was miraculous that it appeared when it did. This is why Jews blow the shofar, or ram's horn, in celebration of the New Year. The sound is meant to remind Jewish congregations that even when things appear at their bleakest, God will provide. Furthermore, the blowing of the horn is meant to provoke compassion in God for human suffering, suggesting that there is a darker side to this tradition as well. God's empathy for human beings must be summoned. It is not intrinsically there for us to depend on." (pg. 260)
About this ram analogy, now I know most Jews rejected Jesus as the Christ (the Messiah), but contrast this "darker side" of tradition to Jesus' willingness to heal the sick and meet needs and even wash feet to demonstrate serving others and his saying "if you have seen me, you have seen the Father." (See John 14).
45 "He who sees Me sees the One who sent Me."
14And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
3And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
Even among the Jewish Scripture, you have this passage from Ezekiel 34 which I read this spring and found touching. God compares Himself to the good shepherd. Take a peek:
15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.
And how can anyone forget one of the most famous Bible passages of all? Psalm 23 from King David where, again, God is known as the tender Shepherd.
Lest we forget, in the Bible God is good and God is love. And we all know the wonderful characteristics of true, God-like love. (If you need a refresher course, check out Paul's wonderful summary of love in I Corinthians 13.)
From this post, did anything trouble you that she said? From what I wrote? Do you tend to have a view of God more in line with the "darker side" of the tradition (in the author's interpretation) or do you believe God to be more compassionate or loving and without the need of our having to somehow summon those traits from Him? What are your favorite Scriptures about God's characteristics and why? How do you generally describe God to others? Do you tend to describe Him as the Scriptures declare Him to be, by what He has done for you and/or by how He has manifested Himself to you personally?
So finally we conclude the posts from this book! Hear that? Now, Ladies, you may polish that furniture and take care of those teeth. If for no other reason, I'm glad I read this book because her topics generated these great discussions the last several days. Thanks to everyone who contributed. Enjoyed it!