Summary: The problems of a ’pick and mix’ approach to a relationship with God
Exodus 32: 1-14
Pick and Mix Christianity
One of the great mantras of current politics is the word ‘choice’. It seems that we must have choice in everything whether it’s the schools our children go to, or the hospitals we are treated in. Disappointingly, this idea of choice is strictly limited – it doesn’t seem to include a choice about paying tax.
This idea of choice is something that is very significant in our society. We have the ability to make so many choices. We have the freedom to make so many choices. We have the financial wherewithal to make so many choices. Henry Ford once said that you could have any colour of car you like as long as it’s black. Well for us, the choices we have when we buy a car are enormous. Choices surround us.
In many ways, choice can be good. But it can also engender a ‘pick and mix’ mindset, a butterfly mentality. The kind of situation where a person flits from one activity to another. The kind of situation where a person moves on to something else the minute the latest experience fails to excite. The notion of consumer mentality where the customer is king, right or wrong.
On one level it really doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to use a different washing powder this week. But in some things it really does matter. It really does matter when it comes to relationships. We live in a world now where people can have a pick and mix approach to marriage, and move on the minute they’re bored with their current wife. The consequences if this are far more serious than the choice of your washing powder. So sometimes this pick and mix approach to life really does matter. It really does matter when it comes to relationships. …. to spirituality. … relationships with God. And in our society, we can see clear evidence of this pick and mix approach to spirituality, to a relationship with the divine. And we find that this pick and mix approach to spirituality is nothing new, and the problems that go with it our nothing new.
Because that’s just what happening in our reading from Exodus.
First thing we can see about this pick and mix mentality from our reading is in
THE PEOPLES IMPATIENCE.
Right at the very beginning of our reading, we see that Moses was delayed. And it was that delay that caused the people to be impatient. It was that delay that caused people to want to move on to another experience. It was that delay which caused people to look for another God. It’s a bit like a credit card. Take the waiting out of wanting, say the adverts. The people couldn’t wait for God. They wanted God right now. They wanted an instant experience of God. The people were impatient.
And I guess people are no different now. They want God to act when they want him to act. They want instant experiences of God. But God isn’t like that. Gods timing is often different from ours. For a start, it’s perfect. God acts when he will act. God gives us experiences of him when he chooses to. And sometimes we have to be patient. Sometimes we have to wait. And a pick and mix mentality when it comes to a relationship with God simply does not work.