Today on my way to the oncologist’s office (nothing to report…just a regular check-up), I was listening to Terri Gross’ program Fresh Air. Today she was talking with the author of a new book that explores the personal relationship that many Evangelical Christians say that they have with God. To do this she attended two different Vineyard churches over the period of a year. She didn’t just attend services on Sunday morning. She also got involved in a small group (house church, prayer circle) during this time.
Much of what she had to say was very interesting and I agreed with a lot of it. However, there was one thing that just kind of set me on edge a bit.
The Vineyard had lots of suggestions for how you might develop and deepen your personal relationship with God. Some of them were things like pour an extra cup of coffee in the morning, pretend God is sitting on the park bench with you with His arm around you, and perhaps my least favorite, pretend to “cuddle” with God. She was told that you should consider God your “best friend” or your “buddy”.
I have no problem with thinking of God as my heavenly Father. In fact, I even like that the term “Abba” that Jesus used for God actually means “Daddy”. But I am not my father’s best friend or buddy. I am not my Daddy’s peer, although I am my Daddy’s girl.
I think the root of my problem with this is that I feel it removes the reverence we should have for God. I think we should all have a little bit of healthy fear of Him. Much as I do my earthly father. I do not fear my best friends or buddies.
Perhaps I am over reacting. But I’m really interested in your thoughts. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve attended Vineyard churches in the past and never heard any of these particular suggestions although there was a big emphasis on a personal relationship with God. It’s really okay with me if you feel differently than I do. At the end of the day, I want everyone to have a relationship with the Father and however you get there is really okay with me.
Except for maybe the “cuddle” suggestion. That one I may need some time to accept.