This thing keeps popping up on my Facebook and Twitter feeds and every time it does, my blood pressure shoots up with it:
[What follows is another one of my rants. Please read it in the voice of Louis CK or Jon Stewart.]
I woke you up early this morning because I know the dreams you have.
Don’t you know that Heaven is filled with whiteboards, flip charts and strategy reports about how we can help you achieve your dreams? All of us in Heaven are watching, hoping and praying that will self-actualise. It’s all about your dreams!
Sleep brings poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
In order for us to help you reach your goals, you need to pull yourself up by your bootstraps! Work late and rise early so that you can store up treasures. When my son walked the Earth, he was all about that. ‘Treasures now and treasures later’, he used to say.It is easy for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle … you just need a big enough blender. I was kidding about that Sabbath stuff, you don’t need rest. And the Psalmist was totally kidding when he wrote: 'In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat-- for he grants sleep to those he loves.' (Psalm 127:2) I always knew it was a bad idea to let that guy write his own songs.
You and your friend got into a fight because a man of many companions may come to ruin, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother. He was going to betray you next week.
I know how much it sucks to be betrayed so I didn’t want it to happen to you too. We’re so glad that you have signed up for our 'divine micro-management programme’ so that you’ll know that you have no responsibility whatsoever when relationships break down. Paul, as usual, was overstating his case when he called you to bear with one another in love, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, and make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:2-3) All that matters to me is that you are safe from people who might get in the way of your dreams! I’m sure your friend had sinned against you at least 490 times which, of course, fulfils my seventy times seven statute of limitations on forgiveness. Screw relationships with people who are difficult or frustrating or who hurt you.
Your grandfather who died? It was time for him to be free of pain, and I needed another angel to help watch over you.
I have a lot on my plate you know. I am juggling a lot of responsibilities up here. Even though I am the creator of humans and angels, sometimes I just don’t have the time or inclination to create more angels to look after your life. The simplest thing for me to do is end human life to make more angels just to look after you, my precious, unique snowflake! It’s Heaven’s version of recycling.
I made your tire flat because there was a drunk driver on the road, and I wanted to make sure the roads were safe.
I know, I know. You’re thinking, ‘but what about all those people who die in horrible situations every day?’ The truth is, my child, I don’t care about them as much as you. It takes a lot for me to constantly look after you and make sure that your life is perfect. Sure, sometimes I’m too busy maintaining your car to make sure that Russia don’t invade Ukraine or that civil war doesn’t break out in Syria. If only there hadn’t been so much snow on your way to work I could probably have found that Malaysian Airlines flight too.
God then said, “Say nothing, for I need no apology. Do not doubt me or second-guess my judgment, for everything I do has a reason. I am with you at all times; I will never fail you or leave you. My love for you is unimaginable.
Why would I ever need an apology? You’re never wrong. I’d hate for you to feel that you ever have to repent, own your mistakes or ask me or anyone else for forgiveness. Everything you do and say is perfect and I’m building you a life to match.
This ‘parable’ (or whatever the hell it is) is not biblical … In fact, I don’t think it’s even Christian. Have you ever met one of those parents who is so blind to the faults of their children that they raise spoilt brats that lack compassion, responsibility and general humanity?
That’s what this is. It’s a recipe for the creation of self-involved, narcissistic sociopaths who believe that God exists to serve them.
If we’re going to build the Kingdom of God, these pithy parables need to be quickly and mercilessly put to death.
I have no doubt that God’s love for us unimaginable. I believe that with all my heart. The challenge is that I am not just called to experience this love … I am called to embody it to the world, to have unimaginable, sacrificial love for my neighbours, my enemies and the least of these. This kind of love gets in the way of my dreams, threatens my wealth and sends me to uncertain and even dangerous places.
'Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. This is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
- 1 John 4:7-12