Opinions on faith and life

Thrill Seekers

2008-05-27

People are incurably religious. They like to do certain things to make them feel close to God (I am specifically referring to the One True God here, and the people I’m talking about are Christians). And there’s nothing wrong with such a quest on the surface. But when they cross the line and replace the good goal, God, with the feelings they may have in his presence, they have stopped seeking Him and instead are seeking The Thrill.

What I mean is that feeling happy is not all God is about. If I had a friend who only came over if I promised to cheer them up and left if I didn’t, what kind of friend would that be? It’s like only seeing your friends as long as they have a party for you; you go for the free food and drink, the atmosphere, the feelings. But when the party’s over and your friends are tired or sick or, well, boring, you’re out of there.

This is not at all to say God could ever be tired or sick or boring, but that he doesn’t exist to entertain us. If all we want is the feeling, then it isn’t him we want at all:

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” (John 6:25-26)
Many people believe that they have not truly worshiped God unless they had some kind of rush (or, perversely, the feeling of utter worthlessness). Some even go to the point of claiming you aren’t saved unless you “felt something”. Yes, we can sometimes be filled in spirit and sing the praises of God out of sheer gratitude, but that is not to be the focus of our attention. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus, not on us or our feelings:
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (Mt. 14:29b-30)
A healthy relationship is one that does not depend on each person entertaining the other, or making each other always experience a thrill. Good friends go through life together whether happy or sad, rich or poor, funny or irritating, exciting or boring. You value others as people in all their facets and want to be with them just because they are who they are.

Why do you seek God? What kind of relationship do you have with him? Why do you “go to church”? Do you really want God in all his facets-- love, anger, peace, war, mercy, justice-- or do you only want to get high on the Thrill?