Wrestling With the Bible: Is God Just Trying to Keep Us in the Game?

Peter at 6. Photo 1987 Barbara Falconer Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

God is a lot like my son Peter.

When Peter was four or five years old, he spent an afternoon with a little friend who was developmentally disabled. Peter was ready to play that afternoon. That is to say, Peter was ready to play – with somebody.

I watched my son try strategy after strategy to engage the other little boy. Patiently, he put aside one superhero figure after another, one truck, one train, one pile of blocks until at last he found something that held the other boy’s attention and allowed him to interact genuinely with Peter as his friend.

A few years later, Peter discovered Monopoly. He was good at the game and, if he was playing with me, Park Place and St. James Place soon fell under his purview and my stack of bills quickly dwindled to a few tens and a couple fifties.

At this point, I’d be ready to quit and get back to the kitchen, but Peter wanted to keep on going. He wanted to play – with somebody.

To keep me in the game, my son would stake me to atrociously large loans. His generosity was beyond reason – but it kept the game alive until dinner time or bedtime finally intervened.

God is a lot like Peter. God wants to be in relationship.

In Genesis, for example, when human beings mess up, the Creator sends a massive flood and gives creation a fresh start. But God quickly recognizes that the humans are bound to mess up again. It won’t be long before humanity is reduced once more to the moral equivalent of a few tens and a couple fifties.

To keep creation in the game, God ties one hand behind God’s back – and promises never to use the flood punishment again.

God, like Peter, doesn’t give up easily.

I  can’t say that God much resembles my son in many other ways – except that I love them both more than I can say.

LECTIONARY, First Sunday in Lent: http://www.lectionarypage.net/YearB_RCL/Lent/BLent1_RCL.html

Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-9
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

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  1. Jan Stanton
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    Barbara, This is wonderful! I’ve been enjoying your blog so much! Thank you for your good thoughts and I’ll look forward to your future posts!

  2. Peter
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Pretty sure you should let David Newhall know that I took his “God” title, ;) .

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall
      Posted March 11, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink


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© 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 Barbara Falconer Newhall. and www.GodsBigBlog.com. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog's author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Barbara Falconer Newhall and www.GodBigBlog.com with appropriate and specifc direction to the original content. Bible texts are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Church of Christ in the USA. The Psalms are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. Material originally published and copyrighted by the Oakland Tribune is posted here by permission. WordPress theme adapted from Thematic Theme Framework