When I was a little kid, God was pretty easy to be around. We were His children. He watched over us. He heard our little bedtime prayers. God loved us. And we loved Him right back.
When I was a teenager, Jesus was this cool, long-haired hippie type who talked about love and peace. We also imagined that He played sitar (can you dig it?) but we never told the old folks because they would have had a cow.
Then I grew up. And things started to change. God quit day-care and became a judge. Jesus got a haircut and joined the establishment. I couldn’t figure out what had happened. The kid god was great. But this grown-up god – he was different.
He would lose His temper over nothing. Just like me.
He could be kind one minute, and mean the next. Just like me.
He was impatient with mistakes. Just like me.
He was always judging people. Just like me.
And of course, he was always right. Just like me.
We saw eye-to-eye on every issue. We liked and disliked the same people. We had the same interpretation of scripture. We even went to the same church. But in spite of all we had in common, he always seemed to be terribly disappointed with who I was.
Just like me.
Hard to believe it took me over 30 years to figure out that this arrogant, demanding and impossibly ill-tempered god I kept trying to satisfy was really, well…
Somewhere between high school and college, I had switched gods. And I never even noticed. I didn’t change religions. It all looked the same on the outside. But inside, something had been … replaced.
How could this happen? Well, first I created this image in my mind of the Super-Christian I was going to be: morally pure, doctrinally sound, theologically correct in every way. Then I stepped into a nearby phone booth, put on a cape and emerged as …
S-u-p-e-r-Ken! “Faster than a speeding heresy.” “Able to leap tall temptations at a single bound.”
The new SuperKen needed a god. And since it was me that created him, I was a shoo-in for the job.
That’s when the god-swap happened.
I was one tough god, too. I rode SuperKen constantly. Trying to get him to straighten out, do right, clean up his act. SuperKen never knew the Real God: loving, kind, patient, forgiving. He only knew the pain-in-the-butt god I was to him: angry, rude, impatient, judgmental. No matter how good and right and true SuperKen was, he never measured up. And because he didn’t, no one else did either. After all, no one could be better than … S-u-p-e-r-Ken. Right?
Enough of that nonsense.
These days I’m getting reacquainted with the Real God – the one I loved and understood as a child. He’s really glad to have me back. It’s a lot easier on me, not trying to be SuperKen. And it’s so much easier on both of us, letting Him be God.
It’s His job, after all – not mine.