God is Love

So I’m a big fan of the band Gungor. They’re lyrics are prophetic and their music is so creative it gets in your bones. I had heard this song a while back, and it has grown on me. Now I know that this is edgy, and I’ve seen the reviews and heard the pushback from it’s message. I know the call of holiness that God has on His people’s lives. I’ve heard (and preached) those sermons. And I get that. But…

It might be a good idea to think about why the video exists in the first place. In their book, UNChristian, Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman make the point that Christians are seen by outsiders primarily as political and judgmental (specifically to people with same-sex attraction). And if you were to just reverse-engineer this song, you’d probably find relationships that the creeators had with people who had been burned by these very things.

Again, I get that my generation is reacting against extremes that the news showed them often, and that we should be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater.But  there is a reason the song ends with the refrain, “So please just stop the hating.” But a deeper truth here, one that I think, Gungor is tapping into, is that God is bigger than our labels or agendas. He transcends our politics and skin color. And that at the core this God is love.

One of the things that disturbed me about the video at first was that God seemed to be pretty superficial. Children who had plates of vegetables saw them magically transformed into plates of candy. Traffic was avoided by turning anger into pogo sticks, smokestacks were transformed into rainbows. It seems like it was portraying God as kind of a magic genie in the sky who granted wishes. A kind of divine Skittles commercial. But then I realized what I think they were trying to do.

I don’t think that’s Gungor’s view of God. I think they, like the psalmist before them, were bumping into the lyrical impossibility of describing how good God is. Sometimes the psalms talk about things like mountains clapping, or rivers singing. Not because they used to do those things, but because how do you put words to the basic goodness of God. All that’s left when we honestly try is hyperbole. Gungor is trying to remind us of something that we should already know. That God’s love is Epic.Because God himself is to big to be reduced to a single image. He can’t be boxed and peddled or sold. He cannot be claimed by any one institution, or political party. And if those things bother us, maybe we should reconsider again how good God is. Because in the words of Paul:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Because God loves everyone.

Even Pat Robertson.

(Special thanks to Matt Dabbs for this video).

About jonathanstorment

My family and I love reading, traveling, daddy/daughter dates, playing hide and seek, good music, and long meals with friends. We still miss LOST, and all four of us have Superman uniforms. We are passionate about bringing Heaven to Earth and want to follow Jesus while repainting discipleship for those around us. We are followers of Jesus and I preach at the Highland Church of Christ. We participate in something called A Restoration Movement, and we've come to realize that might be larger than we thought.

11 thoughts on “God is Love

  1. First let me say I love this song and video. This is what I want more than anything else in the entire universe – that I would “get” the goodness of God and how powerfully He loves…EVERYONE! And then to be able to pass that on constantly, continually – in every situation I find myself in – everywhere I go. I’m currently dealing with a difficult family situation and this is harder than ever. I can’t imagine why. It would seem you would love family first and foremost. Ugh. Not necessarily so. And so I continue to turn to God – and His goodness – and His love to carry over into this situation and hopefully bring us all to His heart. Thanks Jonathan.

    1. Candy, well said. Actually, that was inspiring. Love that vision for how God equips us to to love people. Especially those closest to us. Hope that your family situation takes a turn for the better soon. Thanks for sharing Mrs. Candy!

  2. Awesome. Love it. The only thing offensive is that we have been churched so long that we have to wonder if everything is offensive to those who are already saved. We are brought up to view our every thought in the light of what will the other Christians, especially the super-saved old ones, think. This was not too edgy, not too much. I think way too much energy and focus is spent on coddling the old traditionalists who are already saved and assured their salvation at the expense of the people who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This ain’t granny’s generation and holding a once yearly gospel meeting plus potluck on Sunday afternoon ain’t fillin’ the pews no more.

    (not preaching to you, just venting. as you should know, i think you do a remarkable job of bridging the gaps i mentioned.)

    1. Thanks Maynard! That’s a funny turn of phrase: Coddling the old traditionalists. I want to live in that tension though. I think that’s part of being a pastor. Salvation isn’t a static/stagnant concept in the Bible, it’s something that happens repeatedly. It happens when a person who has been a Jesus-follower for 40 years realizes the depth of God’s love too. I think that’s one of the dangers of the us/them mentality. It keeps us from the realization that God is big enough for others too.

      1. Hit reply too soon. I know that we grew up in similar contexts and that you knew good people that were in those churches. Part of my point is that keeping the tension between saying what is true, and saying what people can hear is that it helps them not remain stagnant as well. Anyway, thanks for weighing in Maynard!

        1. That’s why your the pastor and I’m not – ha. Your point is taken and well-received. I’m with you that we got saved, are being saved, and will be saved. However, my ministry is first and foremost to those who haven’t heard and I have a hard time stomaching the ones that rubbed God in my face for a few decades (3 X a week) yet never introduced me to Him. I am thankful that good folks like you can be patient with them because, yes, they need Jesus, too. Love ya, buddy. Keep up the good news!

          1. “…the ones that rubbed God in my face for a few decades (3 X a week) yet never introduced me to Him.”

            Wow! Beautifully expressed of a situation I lived all my more youthful years. PTL! o/ He sent His messengers with a great big key to the jail door, allowing me out into freedom and one on one with Him! YEAH for you, others that finally we introduced to Jesus, AND for me too. 🙂

  3. “God is bigger than our labels or agendas. He transcends our politics and skin color. And that at the core this God is love.”

    This question was asked in a singles class several years ago; “What would a person look like as a good candidate for membership in this class?”
    After several answers of ‘same interests as we have, looks like us, good level of education, etc.’ a questions was asked to answer the question, “Who wouldn’t be a good candidate for membership in this class?”

    Possibly a bit off the subject, but I would like to hope that one day in the near future we will be taught from pulpits that, for instance, those “that struggle with same sex attraction” and I’d add, those that are in a same sex relationship are not committing the unforgettable sin – God has an answer for them too, His love covers them too – He offers His love and redemption to them too. I would hope we would be given tools to overcome the negative expressions against them, replacing them with positive output to accompany God’s offer of Himself to them, much like you did so brilliantly about how we tnik about our ‘stuff!’
    . Our witness to the world doesn’t seem to offer a particularly positive image of a God of love when our bias and bigotry is expressed against those that live differently than we do..I would beg help from our teachers, preachers, pastors to accomplish a heart change against those that are different from ‘us’, in specific circumstances, rather than general ‘God loves everyone.’ We need specific situations addressed, truly in my humble opinion.
    I so appreciate you, Jonathan and your passionate teaching.

    1. That’s convicting, about your classes realization, Mrs. Kathy. You’re right, I think the primary way that people will know what we feel about God is going to come out in how we treat other people, specifically those who are different than us, or that we disagree with.

      Thanks for the encouragement Mrs. Kathy!

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