Monday, June 2, 2014

OT God vs NT God - update from the front lines!

I'm struggling at the moment between two pictures of God - the one my head has, and the one my heart has.

My head sees God as disproving, full of laws and rules, angry.

My heart sees God as the Creator who is still creating, loving, kind, full of grace, and bigger, wilder and free-er than I can understand.

It feels like I am caught in the cross-fire of a battle between these two images, and am constantly having to defend who I am and how I live to the God who lives in my head. 

Or maybe it feels like a battle between Old Testament God and New Testament God.

Actually, no - it's not a battle between them, it's OT God attacking NT God.

I am tired of feeling defensive, upset and angry because of these conflicting beliefs.

It's interesting how differently I feel when I think about these two images of God.  OT God (for want of a better phrase) makes me feel tense, anxious and angry - I can feel a knot of tension in my gut when I'm thinking about Him.  When I think about NT God, I can feel myself relax and I start to smile.  I can stop defending myself and get on with the business of being myself!

I just don't know how to stop the fight.  I'm tired!

Any ideas?


  1. I really relate to this! Last Sunday, I found it hard to sing the worship songs because I felt disturbed and angry about how a lot of people have been damaged in God's name. I was thinking in particular about a post I'd read by a woman who likened her relationship with God to an abusive boyfriend whom she was glad she had broken up with. Finally, I walked out of the service and found a quiet place in the church to pray. I told God my questions about Him, and though I don't have any definitive answers, I sensed that God was glad for me to be asking those questions in His house, and that even though I couldn't sing the worship songs, my lament was worship, too. I pray God gives you a sense of safety even in your wrestling.

  2. I hear you, Elena! It seems as if there is no end to the wrestling. Still... thank God, His love is from everlasting to everlasting.

  3. Hi donna, I'm trying to get ahold of you to add you to the Let Your Life Speak discussion group on Facebook. Could you send me an email or friend me on facebook (Kelly Hausknecht Chripczuk)? Thanks!

  4. VERY late coming to this blog. And I speak as a post-Christian agnostic. So maybe it's presumptuous or at least ironic, that I should fancy I've something to contribute on this particular subject! Hey-ho and here goes...
    It seems to me that the 'head' God you describe, is one you've been taught by religion. The 'heart' God is the one in the place where He looks and does stuff (1Sam 16:7). To be blunt, I think you can ditch the former and treasure the latter. IMHO.

    As for OT/NT differences - we might have more of a clash there. I'm not sure if you still view the Bible as the inerrant ineffable Word of God from which not a single syllable shall ever be deducted (I'm making that phraseology up, but I think in our shared cultic upbringing we were taught pretty much that?) I've left that viewpoint behind, and now see the books of the Bible - and some of the texts that weren't included... and some teachings that are not biblical at all - as very useful writings to help us live better lives. I don't see any particular translation of the Bible as the be all end all descriptor of God or as a textbook to godliness. Both the OT God and the NT God are described (and then multifariously translated) to us in the context of the culture and events of those times. This is now, and we're muddling through as best we can. I love you.