As I browsed the Internet this evening, I came across a post that made me shake my head in sorrow.
The author of this post tells a horrific story of the sexual abuse of a child, then has the nerve to explain that his loving God should be excused for not intervening in the situation. Follow the link above if you want to read the entire pathetic post for yourself. I’ll just provide some excerpts here. Don’t be surprised if, at some point in your reading, you find yourself weeping, gnashing your teeth, releasing a primal scream or engaging in some other expression of frustration, disgust or rage.
Monday evening I turned on the television in a hotel room in Gatlinburg, TN to hear something that made my blood boil…toward God. I was so disturbed by what I had heard that I found myself having difficulty sleeping. There were even moments when I wanted to scream out and cry for the misery that had been given to an innocent toddler who had no one to turn to…not even God.
You may have heard the news that someone video taped the rape of a three-year-old girl….
I hear so many stories about God’s powerful presence during times of prayer, when entire cities are transformed by revival. Why is the powerful presence of God always so evident when people are worshiping, but not when an innocent child is being mutilated and destroyed by those who she believes are the protectors of her world?
The absence of God in these kinds of situations is beyond frustration for me and millions of others….
Although the questions that surround God’s absence in times of desperation may never be fully reconciled on this side of heaven, there is an answer.
God is not our baby sitter….
Keep our children safe. Stop trying to give God our jobs. God is not a baby sitter!
We’ve all read and heard stories of Christians (almost always fundogelicals) whom God has helped find parking places at crowded malls, whom he has helped find their car keys so they wouldn’t be late for important meetings, whom he has helped find the perfect wedding dress at the perfect discounted price…. We’ve also heard stories (far too many) of the sort told by Johnny: of children raped and brutalized (usually by people they trusted) while God did nothing, of children whose parents prayed for them instead of seeking medical treatment for them – and watched them die as God did nothing, of families who have been terrorized by tyrannical fathers (who justify their tyranny by quoting the Good Book) while God did nothing…. If you were Johnny, what lesson would you take from these things? What I’ve learned is that God’s a pretty good parking attendant, but he’s a lousy child care provider. Would you hire this deity to work in your day care center? Me neither.
Many years ago, I listened in amazement as Ruth Carter Stapleton testified to approximately 500 people that God had helped her pick out just the right number of ketchup bottles for a large dinner she had hosted. She told how she pushed her cart up and down the aisles and just couldn’t figure out how much ketchup she’d need. As she pushed her cart, she prayed for divine guidance regarding this critical decision. Finally, she reached out and grabbed some bottles from the shelf and placed them in her cart. And what do you know? After the party had ended and the cleaning up had commenced, she realized that she’d had a Goldilocks experience! She’d bought just the right amount of ketchup, not too much and not too little. At the time, even though I was a Christian, I thought her story was bizarre (as if the Master of the Universe actually cares whether someone buys 8 bottles of ketchup rather than 9). Having had more than a few more years to think about the matter some more, I’ve reached a different conclusion. Noting that the Bible has plenty of stories about banquets, it doesn’t surprise me at all that he’s finally got the catering business figured out.
It’s ironic that Johnny calls his blog Flock’s Diner. He deliberately invokes the image of God as a shepherd and believers as the sheep under his care – there’s even a blurb in his sidebar that explains it. All I can say is, I hope God takes better care of sheep than he does of kids. How can Johnny defend God for not lifting a finger to assist a helpless child, yet contend that God cares for anyone at all? How can he miss the discontinuity? Instead, he makes an excuse for his piss poor example of a god: he’s not a babysitter; we have to take some responsibility for doing some things ourselves. I’ll take you up on that, Johnny: next time you can’t find your car keys, say this prayer – God, I know you’re not my babysitter, so I’ll go ahead and find my keys on my own this time. In the meantime, if there’s a child who needs your help, feel free to leave me alone for a bit so that you can go and take care of her. Did you ever think, Johnny, that maybe the reason God doesn’t help defenseless children who desperately need assistance is because he’s spending way too much time and energy helping childish, sheep-like Christians do shit that they really should be doing for themselves?
On the other hand, Johnny, maybe the reason God doesn’t help defenseless children is because he’s not there. Your analysis of the situation was not completely wrong. You were absolutely correct when you pointed out that people, especially adults, have to be willing to step up and take responsibility for ourselves, our families and our communities. But the reason for that is not because God needs people to be his “eyes, ears, hands, and even fists in the world.” No. Not at all. The reason is that the world needs all decent people to be “eyes, ears, hands, and fists in the world” to overcome brutality, violence and hatred. We have to do it on our own, because there is no God to help us do it or to do it for us. All of us must work together to make the world a safer place for everyone.
– the chaplain