This evening we met friends for dinner. They had asked us to also see a movie with them, they were going to Sherlock Holmes. We declined as I had decided as far back May that the movie was not my cup of tea. When we got to the noodle house and shrugged off our coats the talk was immediately of the film.
They loved it! It was fun and energetic, full of fights and violence. There was something about Irene Adler dismantling a steampunk gas contraption and some other thing about our Irene Macgyvering a bomb from a bullet and a pipe. I asked the six who loved the film if they were familiar with the books. They’d never read them.
And that got me to thinking as I lie in bed later. At how much the God of the The Shack has in common with the Holmes of this latest movie.
There is the character we know from the books, who has a nature perfectly described in the books. A nature that has become well-known throughout time. The books tell us things both large and small, tales that inform about who this person is. Whether it is a detective who behaves thus and so or the Almighty. There is copious written evidence of that being–or is God a “being”, really, or just the I AM?
And then someone comes along and says “I don’t like who that being is, it is not interesting to me. It is boring to me and doesn’t do what I want it to do.”
So God becomes an Aunt Jemima and Holmes is now a bareknuckle boxer. God becomes a sylph-like Asian gardener and Holmes is a steampunk action star.
And people are fine with it. With loving their own creations. Loving the things that have been remade to suit their particular taste. I know there are those who say we have always made God in our image. And I confess to having seen it done, accidentally doing it a time or three myself. But every time I have done, I feel cheated in the end. Like I haven’t gotten to commune with who God is by shoving God in the box I had made.
They are not the same, Sherlock and God. Despite how highly I think of the fictional detective I don’t revere him. But they do get this same treatment. This same sort of schoolgirl-crush “I like you because you suit the prefab mold I have in my pocket.”
I think of Holmes, scratching out a tune on his violin, keeping his bees. Collecting tobacco and mud. I think of the people who see the steampunk Bourne and are cheating themselves out of the depth of Doyle’s character by favouring this new action star. He may be fun but he isn’t Sherlock Holmes.
I think of God, loving and creating and making mysteries for our minds to chew, beauty for our eyes. I think of God offering perfect communion and peace. I think of the people who see the wisecracking Mammy and the stereotyped clumsy carpenter with the big nose (like in all those Nazi newspaper cartoons) and are cheating themselves out of the depth of God by favouring this new idol. He may be fun but he isn’t God.