God is like a deck. Not of the Bicycle card variety. The thing that hangs off the back of your house that you sit on when it’s nice out and collects snow in the winter, variety. Think about it. God really is like a deck.
A deck usually has layers and layers of varnish, stain and finish on it. Lost under all of these man-made attempts to make something better and more durable is the beauty, simplicity and rawness of the original wood. At the same time, you can still see the knots, warping and bird droppings on the decking. You may put some patio furniture, a grill or an umbrella that’s the size of a NASA satellite to be used during the warm months. Other times of the year, the deck is rendered useless because of the outside elements and forces.
God is like a deck. Sometimes there are things or people that add layers to God. Traditions, denominations, parents and yes, even pastors, can add varnish to a God who didn’t ask for it. Just as a deck is still a deck with all the layers of finish and weather abuse it takes, God is still the God he’s always been. The thing that changes is the way we perceive, understand and interpret God. Our best attempts to make God something more durable, desirable and beautiful can actually have the opposite effect.
In order to see the God who has always been, you must be willing to rethink the way you’ve always known and seen him. This takes a willingness to be uncomfortable. To admit that you’re willing and able to loosen past interpretations, thoughts and beliefs of seeing God, while realizing there are great contributions from the past. The only way to know the Jesus, who is like God, is to start to strip away all of the layers that have been placed on him.
Really, the way that Jesus is seen in today’s world is the interpretation of man. This is how the Bible came to be. A group of men got together and decided which books were in and which were out. The same goes for modern interpretations, beliefs and theology. The direction of faith is predicated upon pastors, authors and anyone with a blog who has an opinion and a particle interpretation of God. Yes, I understand the meaning of irony.
The rawest, simplest way to see Jesus is revealed through accounts of his followers. But is it also possible to see Jesus in other ways? In the actions of others? In nature? Through a child? An organization making a difference in the world? In conversations that we know something more is happening in? Through experiences? Through teachers, pastors, authors, parents, grandparents, musicians and yes, even bloggers?
The God you look for and find is always going to be a God that is more real, true and lasting than any God that comes with baggage from layers and layers of man-made ideals. And the more that you search, the more you realize that the varnish, the stain, the finish that has been placed on Jesus is actually part of the story.
It’s part of the process. Part of the natural cycles of this earth. Some of the layers are naturally stripped away by the elements. By time, technology, thinking and rethinking. But in the end, you still have that raw, true to form, majestic Deck. The one that’s always been there. The one that will always be there. The Deck that continues to be seen, interacted with and understood in different ways throughout the changing seasons.