Why do so many people feel that they can define God?
Living in Korea presents a few challenges for an American such as myself and for the sake of this conversation, I'll save you the list and just say that television is one of them. Like many of my expats brothers and sisters, we do not and will not ever like Korean television. Language aside, Korean teevee is the stereotype of Asian programming. It's like western programming on steroids. Or cocaine. Or speed. Or something that will amplify the mood and make a seemingly mundane situation much more intense. The "dramas" have long abandoned the love triangle for the heptagon; the "animal shows" prefer scaring animals rather than showing them being cute; the news reeks of government regulation and the game shows, well, they're beyond description. Just think midnight public access mixed with heavy drinking and a touch of ether meant for an audience of eight graders.
It's not that bad really, but I personally can't handle it most of the time. (Japan and SE Asia, on the other hand, love it, so it's obviously doing something right.) Therefore, I'm left with the scraps of American television that Korea has, for one reason or another, deemed worthy of being aired. And on this particular afternoon, I happened to sit down next to my wife while she was watching Tyra. Personally, I think Tyra is a joke. Never does she offer a shred of decent advice, nor does she know what she's talking about. She's pretty much just a low-rent Oprah.
Either way, the show was about homosexuality, Heaven and Christianity. I personally don't want to waste my time on this topic, but what I did find interesting is this: At the end of the show, Tyra was giving a monologue of sorts. With the entire audience intently listening and the camera framing her face alone, she said this (and I'm paraphrasing):
"God does not care if you are gay or straight or bisexual. As long as you are a good and caring person, then you will be rewarded with Heaven."The pastor on the show was visibly aggravated as the audience ate it up. Somehow, Tyra had become the authority on God and his admission policies into Heaven. No one complained about her possible misrepresentation of God because it makes most people feel good about their own lives, but imagine is she said something more extreme or even --dare I say-- Biblical? I'm not naive enough to assume that Tyra was going to allow the pastor to have the final word and am under no illusions as to why people invite men of the cloth to discuss such topics, but this was glaringly out of her league.
The God of the Bible is pretty clearly defined by its words, yet you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who has not offered themselves or others an alternative version of God that suits their own selfish needs. I know that I am certainly guilty of such a thing as my desire to offer solace to others often leads me to it. Tyra was doing the same thing. Putting aside the fact that the fallout she would experience from condemning a gay guest on air, it was her natural instinct to put a positive spin on a thorny issue between the Church and mainstream society.
Heaven also gets its fair share of individual interpretation. Take the Talking Heads for instance...
It is difficult for good people to be saved; what, then, will become of godless sinners?
Keep walking on straight paths, so that the lame foot may not be disabled, but instead be healed. -Hebrews 12:13