Awesome? Really?

A Facebook status asked, “There are so many words to describe our God. Which would be your favorite?”

My word would be awesome — not because I use it a lot but because I use it carefully and sparingly.  The word is overused such that it has lost much of its power.  But I try to only use it to describe God. 

I checked my 1,224 posts on this blog to see how well I’ve done with that.  It came up about 6 times.  Two were within quotes of others (a comment from a prisoner who went through a Kairos weekend and a reference to the powerful force of U.S. military).

One was a reference to a Kairos team I worked with (“You were an awesome team to work with, and I don’t use that adjective very often.”)

One was about God and forgiveness (“Only an awesome God could wipe away a lifetime of sin and hatred by having the minister – who had presumably suffered from the prejudices of others – be the one to lead the man to Christ.”).

Only one was secular, in response to a gay person claiming they had no organized agenda (“You guys are the most awesome marketers I’ve ever seen.  Seriously.  You should all work for Fortune 50 marketing departments.”)

One was about Heaven (“Heaven will be awesome (I try to only use the word awesome to describe God and Heaven, so I mean that in the most powerful sense).”)

What is your favorite way to describe God?

0 thoughts on “Awesome? Really?”

  1. Well.. it’ll sound like a cop-out but “awesome” would be my word also. I haven’t been able to think of a better word. People could use “love”, “just”, etc, but there is so much misconception around those words these days that they do not describe clearly anymore. Now “awesome” it really doesn’t describe actual characteristics, but it really gives you a sense of power, potentially beauty at the same time. “Holy” would be a good word also, but due to the lack of most people not being able to define “holy” it might not convey what it should.

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  2. “There are so many words to describe our God. Which would be your favorite?”

    Hungry. Thirsty. Stranger. Naked. Sick. Prisoner.

    One of my favorite passages in the gospels is the directive in Matthew Chapter 25:

    “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

    God answers: ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

    And then:

    “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    “He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ ”

    So those are my favorite words to describe God: to remember this clear directive. That every person who goes hungry, is God going hungry. Every person who needs water and goes without is God going thirsty. Every person who is homeless and lacking in the basic material goods, is God homeless and naked. Every person ill and alone is God sick and alone. Every person in prison is God, a prisoner.

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    1. That is odd that you chose that passage. The 1st century Jews considered children to be a blessing. Abortion was non-issue for them. Even the pagans who created the Hippocratic Oath knew abortion was wrong. It took over 2,000 years for our culture to rationalize away the obvious.

      If Jesus taught this passage today He might note how the “least of these” include the unborn. Throughout the rest of his word He taught that we are human from conception, how we should protect the weak, etc. But my guess is that you don’t like those passages so you ignore them.

      Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for him. Whatever you do not do for the least of these, you do not do for him. http://tinyurl.com/yzjq4lv

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      1. The 1st century Jews considered children to be a blessing. Abortion was non-issue for them.

        I’m surprised you know that – yes, abortion was considered a non-issue under Jewish law until the fetus “quickened”, ie around the fourth or fifth month.

        As any pro-choice woman knows, for children to be considered a blessing, a woman must be able to choose to have children – not have them forced upon her as an unwelcome consequence.

        “The least of these” – that would, though pro-lifers don’t seem able to imagine this, include the women who are sick, poor, abused, raped – their lives ignored and denied by wealthy Christians who have forgotten that Jesus’s words were aimed at getting people to look at the sins they themselves were committing, rather than judging others – or going after them with an axe.

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      2. I’m surprised you know that – yes, abortion was considered a non-issue under Jewish law until the fetus “quickened”, ie around the fourth or fifth month

        I’ve read the Bible many times and never noticed that passage. Please elaborate. And I know you won’t use Exodus 21 because any moderately informed person knows that pro-aborts use a poor translation to prop up their ridiculous case that Jesus is pro-legalized abortion — http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Articles/ByDate/1995/1523_Exodus_212225_and_Abortion/%22 .

        not have them forced upon her as an unwelcome consequence.

        Did the gov’t tie her down and give her in vitro? Then stop embarrassing yourself with the “forced” language. And grow up and accept the consequences of your actions.

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      3. “The least of these” – that would, though pro-lifers don’t seem able to imagine this, include the women who are sick, poor, abused, raped – their lives ignored and denied by wealthy Christians who have forgotten that Jesus’s words were aimed at getting people to look at the sins they themselves were committing, rather than judging others – or going after them with an axe.

        I invited you to visit a crisis pregnancy center, but you pretended to fear for your safety. Sure. Hey, lie to me all you like. I realize that anyone propping up such a pro-abortion worldview has a tough task and is bound to say ridiculous things. But don’t lie to yourself. Go think about it: Why not go get a tour? Take a police escort if you are really afraid.

        But we know what you are really afraid of: Finding a bunch of Christians who take their own time and money to help women and children in need. They aren’t political. They are just helping people make an informed choice. I can always spot the fake Christians like Chuck Currie and Dwight who pretend to want to reduce abortions but don’t support Crisis Pregnancy Centers.

        What do you do with your time and money to help all the women who decide to keep their children? After all, if you are really pro-choice and not pro-forced abortions then you have the obligation to help that you place on Christians.

        Again, it is pretty obvious that in our culture the “least of these” are the unborn doomed to slaughter.

        Oh, and I’m still waiting for you to answer this: Is it pro-women to hide statutory rape so you can make money off of abortions? http://tinyurl.com/ybp5ocm

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      4. I invited you to visit a crisis pregnancy center, but you pretended to fear for your safety

        No pretence. Pro-lifers who claim to think that having an abortion is murder are unpleasant people. Pro-lifers who really think that having an abortion is murder are proven dangerous people. Doctor George Tiller was murdered by such a pro-lifer.

        Take a police escort if you are really afraid.

        Police protection did not save George Tiller from death at the gun of a pro-lifer.

        But we know what you are really afraid of: Finding a bunch of Christians who take their own time and money to help women and children in need.

        No, that’s what I’d find at Planned Parenthood. What I’d find at a crisis pregnancy center is a bunch of people – who may call themselves Christians – who sign on to a shameful fraud, pretending to provide healthcare and support for women in need, and who at best fraudulently delay a woman seeking an abortion, and at worst, talk women who are emotionally vulnerable into being baby providers for the adoption industry.

        (For all the pro-lifer pretense that the useful charity Planned Parenthood is “making money out of abortion”, the real moneyspinner is in the adoption industry: and that is one which pro-lifers, especially those connected with crisis pregnancy cons, have a real connection with. Making money out of childless couples at the expense of low-income women’s emotional trauma.)

        Again, it is pretty obvious that in our culture the “least of these” are the unborn doomed to slaughter.

        Only if you’re inhuman enough to be indifferent to the 49,000 Americans who go hungry each year: the 220,000 women around the world who die each year because of being denied basic reproductive healthcare (150,000 in childbirth; 70,000 because of illegal abortion); the 22,000 Americans who die each year because they do not have health insurance; the 2 million Americans in prison.

        But pro-lifers are just that indifferent to God going hungry, naked, sick, in jail…. all they care about is throwing stones at the women. Odd that throwing stones for sexual sin was one other thing that Jesus specifically condemned. I guess that pro-lifers are so keen to think “God is AWESOME!” they forgot to pay attention to what God actually said in the gospels.

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      5. Pro-lifers who claim to think that having an abortion is murder are unpleasant people.

        Pro-abortionists who don’t concede that abortion kills an innocent human being are anti-science and/or delusional — http://tinyurl.com/yfje8lq .

        Police protection did not save George Tiller from death at the gun of a pro-lifer.

        Right. And no one saved Jim Poillon — http://www.lifenews.com/state4409.html . Haven’t seen you take responsibility for that one while you are busy pinning Tiller’s death on all pro-lifers. Oh, and your culpability for the 3,000 innocent humans destroyed today, and tom’w, and the next day.

        No, that’s what I’d find at Planned Parenthood.

        LOL. Planned Parenthood does abortions for profit. They destroy half the humans who come in, that is, when they are busy hiding statutory rape. I’ve noticed that you keep dodging this question: Is it good for women if you hide statutory rape so you can make money off abortions? http://tinyurl.com/ybp5ocm

        If any Christians are at Planned Parenthood then they are wildly confused.

        Only if you’re inhuman enough to be indifferent to the 49,000 Americans who go hungry each year

        Who said I’m indifferent to that? How does that compare to 1,000,000 human beings being crushed and dismembered? Same thing for the rest of your stats.

        But pro-lifers are just that indifferent to God going hungry, naked, sick, in jail…. all they care about is throwing stones at the women.

        Are you a fiction writer? You just make this up as you go along. Lots of CareNet clients have had abortions. They don’t get condemnation from us, they get the life saving message of Jesus Christ and a chance for hope and healing (that PP types lied to them about when they said abortion would solve their problem).

        I’m indifferent to people in jail? Don’t tell my friends in prison ministry, cause I’ve got them totally fooled — http://4simpsons.wordpress.com/2009/09/26/off-to-prison-ministry-3/

        Odd that throwing stones for sexual sin was one other thing that Jesus specifically condemned.

        Oh, so you mix metaphorical stones with physical ones and think that applies? How about the stones you throw with your wild accusations of pro-lifers being murderers? What a hypocrite.

        I guess that pro-lifers are so keen to think “God is AWESOME!” they forgot to pay attention to what God actually said in the gospels.

        I have a pretty sound idea of what the whole Bible says, including the Gospels. I’ve even noticed one part that says, “Don’t murder.”

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      6. I have a pretty sound idea of what the whole Bible says, including the Gospels. I’ve even noticed one part that says, “Don’t murder.”

        And yet: pro-lifers commit murder, and attempt murder….

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      7. You are not only a liar but a bad one at that. Remember when you destroyed your own argument by claiming that Obama had no culpability with child killing? Live by stupid arguments, die by stupid arguments.

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      8. Remember when you destroyed your own argument by claiming that Obama had no culpability with child killing?

        Wow, are YOU a liar!

        Remember when you claimed that a President of the United States had performed abortions? And when I inquired politely which POTUS you were thinking of, you announced that what you’d MEANT when you claimed that a President had performed abortions, was Obama’s vote against a cruel piece of legislation mandating that even if a newborn baby cannot live, the hospital is still required to try.

        You really don’t seem to understand that blatan lies about what you said are counterproductive to your argument, do you? Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon has a great post up about how pro-lifers are all chronic liars, and you certainly fit the stereotype.

        I notice pro-lifers never slammed George W. Bush for his signing off on a money-saving law allowing Texan hospitals to let patients die when their insurance had run out.

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      9. Now you are just being stupid. I never said Obama performed abortions himself and every reader knows that. They can also see how ridiculous you claims are that pro-lifers are murderers for opposing the crushing and dismemberment of innocent human beings. Your fallacies are bad enough but now you aren’t even being consistent.

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      10. Oh, so you mix metaphorical stones with physical ones and think that applies?

        Pro-lifers attack health clinics, clinic staff, and women, not just with stones – though stones have been thrown by pro-lifers doing what they call “sidewalk counselling” and what everyone else calls “a buse and harassment” – but other weapons have been used by pro-lifers as well: axes, bricks, bombs, acid attacks, guns – eight doctors and other clinic staff have been murdered by pro-lifers, at work, at their home, in church.

        We are not talking about metaphorical violence, though the ugly abuse pro-lifers throw at women and doctors is brutal enough. Pro-lifers are a physically violent movement.

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      11. What a self parody. Still waiting for you to take responsibility for the pro-lifer recently killed and to explain how hiding statutory rape to increase abortion profits is pro-women.

        I’ve been very patient, but if you don’t answer those your future comments will be deleted.

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  3. Holy.

    And humble.

    The humility of God is truly awe inspiring to me. Throughout history he acts with great humility, he seeks the lowly. He comes as a carpenter. He dies a simple death. He initiates baptism that uses simply water. From the Catholic perspective, he chooses to dwell in bread and wine, simple items. He simply asks for sins to be confessed, and offers his forgiveness with no strings attached, not that we go on an elaborate quest like in a movie or a video game.

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  4. Neil,

    I can’t find your email address for some reason. But I thought you might find this article about controversy at Calvin College rather interesting, and thought you might have some insight into it.

    I find it quite interesting just how divorced modern mainline/deadline Protestant denominations (especially Anglicans/Episcopalians) are from the original ideals of the reformers.

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  5. I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says like I want to be formal, but I’m here to party too. Just kidding.
    Id say Benevolent. Or Maybe Confusing.
    Actually i would say, Savior.

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      1. You are wrong. God created all life and ultimately takes it all.

        He told the Israelites to clear out he Promised Land of a people who had 400 years to repent and didn’t. They sacrificed children to idols, among other things.

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  6. Amazing. Arrowsmith had a song with that name and a line that said, “With a blink of an eye, I finally see the light.”
    God is amazing.

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