Googling God – Rebooted and Expanded


Googling God had been ‘Rebooted and Expanded’ and is now available on Amazon.com; Amazon.ca; and Amazon.uk

If you know someone who is on the fringes… kind of interested in there being more to life than a reflection in the mirror, somewhat wary of Church and skeptical about Christianity…. why not invite them to read Googling God? It’s non threatening, and and gentle invitation to embark on a journey of exploration – Maybe God is better news and not as much of a killjoy or ogre as they thought…..

A Review from the UK…

GoodBookStall Review (UK):(17/02/09)
One of the marks of a true genius is being able to grasp and understand very complex subjects and to interpret them for others in a more easily understood manner or to join disparate threads together and make the end product seem obvious. This book is one of the best apologetics that I have read and it is right up-to-date and relevant for today’s reader Covering all the main topics of a general apologetic with chapters such as: “You Can’t Prove Anything”, “Religion Is Everywhere” or “Good God, Why Does It Hurt So Much?” John Cox draws on the very wide ranging and challenging life experiences that he has encountered and he has used empathetic biographical montages to aid his brilliant explanations and discussions. Here is a book that will deepen your understanding of the very reality of God in our modern lives, but also it is written at a level that means it could be given to a seeking non-Christian who wants real answers without the sugar coating of “cheesy” religion. Buy it, read and enjoy it, then give it to a friend to enjoy also!   Tim Leffler

Googling God Revised

God and Jesus Christ crop up in the most unlikely places!

Their names bounce off the lips of people from a fascinating assortment of backgrounds and walks of life. They are mentioned constantly in the conversations of mill-workers and fisherman, business executives and bankers, kids in the playground and athletes of every sport. The only problem is that most of the time God and Jesus are referenced as if they do not exist. They are merely included as thoughtless syllables in a chain link of other profanities, “God Almighty what a shot!” “Jesus Christ did you see what just walked by?” “F*** you!” “Christ, why can’t you listen more carefully?” “Jeeeeesuz that was cool!”

The phrase that would likely cause the most surprise or offence in the string of profanities quoted above is “F*** you!” Replacing that phrase with “God Almighty” or “Jesus Christ” is superficially less offensive to many of us. What is even more intriguing is that no other religious figure receives such disdainful treatment. We don’t hear people exclaiming “Buddha, that hurt!” or “In Allah’s name go to hell!”, “For Muhammad’s sake shut up!” “Krishna, that was a great strike!”

What has happened to God and Jesus? They dominate the vocabulary of so many and yet are close to the hearts of relatively few? The answer is obvious isn’t it? They are terms that have no meaning to the speaker; therefore they have been swept off the top shelf and relegated to the basement where they are used to punctuate vocabulary in a rather meaningless and arbitrary fashion.

There’s no point in complaining, expecting people to listen or change.  Why should they?  Far better to encourage questioning and provide the kind of example that will cause them to think again. If and when God means something to us on a personal level then our language will change accordingly. Surely if we have learned one thing it is that long-lasting positive results seldom if ever grow out of negativity, rules, and making threats? In fact one of the authentic tests for the reality of God (if of course He exists) is that He attracts us through unconditional love and disarming kindness. Which is often in direct contrast to how we tend to approach challenges by haranguing each other with rules and wagging fingers – a lot easier than manifesting love unconditionally. Such a love can get you crucified – but now we’re way ahead of ourselves.

I imagine we probably have all muttered words similar in substance to one or more of the following phrases in our lifetime:

“I spent 12 years at a school where we were forced to attend church services, sing hymns, and receive religious instruction. It all seemed so dated and boring – I don’t think that kind of stuff really makes a difference and I’m certainly not interested.”

“Religion seems to bring out the worst in people. They become judgmental and holier than thou, or are always complaining about ‘the world’. Then there is the fanaticism that motivates people to kill, and to do all kinds of hateful things to others with whom they disagree – all in the name of God. Frankly, religion scares me.”

“If God is real I just don’t understand why there is so much pain and suffering in the world. He does not seem to be very active and I haven’t experienced a whole lot of love from people I know who attend church. Most are hypocrites as far as I can tell – you should watch them during the week!”

“I wouldn’t mind maybe believing in God but the leaders don’t impress me much. I am so tired of hearing about scandals, abuse, money scams, and other stuff that does not seem to be very consistent with a message of ‘love’.”

There seems to be such a credibility gap between what God is supposed to be like and the experience many of us have when meeting His followers. A few years ago I attended a Business workshop hosted by the Disney Corporation in Vancouver. The guest speaker was talking about customer service and how important it is to minimize ‘bad experiences’. He said, “We have found that every negative customer service experience takes 36 positive experiences to win them back again.”

I would never have guessed the stakes were so high but it makes sense to me. It’s invariably true isn’t it? We tend to gravitate toward the negative and we allow the positive to be swallowed up by the ‘one thing’ that went wrong. And that is the impression that lingers and invariably gets the ‘airtime’ in our subsequent conversations. The charlatans generally occupy more headlines and sound bytes than do Mother Theresa and others of her ilk. It is hardly surprising therefore that we grow disillusioned with perceptions about God that become bent and distorted so easily through the prism of other people.  It is actually predictable and I would suggest even inevitable. Because God is portrayed as perfect in every way and those who believe in him are imperfect in every way. There is bound to be inconsistency, distortion, and even hypocrisy visible in the crowd gathered around him sporting his colors and breathing, sneezing, and speaking in his name.

God, and those who believe in him, are not one and the same. I have heard many people admit that, “It’s not God I have a problem with, it’s the people who say they believe in him who are so judgmental and self righteous etc… that’s what turns me off and makes me want to have nothing to do with religion.” Yet on the other hand most people who profess to believe in God will credit a friend, or an act of kindness, or a positive quality they saw in someone as a factor that helped them come to a place of personal faith (I’ll describe a few folk who impacted me a little later). The truth of the matter is that people who behave badly are an unhelpful advertisement for anything that they are attached to; whether it is God, soccer, politics, or extreme sports. If we can accept that ‘level playing field’ then the first item on our agenda is to learn to separate the ‘disorderly and unattractive crowd’ from the core activity or person being examined.

It’s rather like expecting everyone who watches soccer or enthuses about the game to also be a star player – they are not, and they never will be. Once I accept that reality then disillusionment will probably be less of an issue, although we’ll have to keep reminding ourselves to make the distinction. Our expectations for the players will naturally be significantly higher than for those who merely support, help organize, and watch the game. Nevertheless we still expect them to share some of the values, aspirations and characteristics of their idols.

If God is real he is going to be really hard to comprehend from where we stand, because he is so entirely different to us! Understanding him with our minds and trying to figure him out may actually be a futile and impossible task. Maybe ‘believing’ begins to grow and be formed from a synthesis of mind and heart, experience, intuition, friendships, and trial and error; all interacting simultaneously, until one day something ‘clicks’ for us (like guitar strings needing to be tuned in relationship to each other in order for the music to be played).

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3 comments

  1. I love this book. It’s a welcoming, thought provoking, read that brought me back to God in understanding in a light and unthreatening way.
    Thank you, John for helping to show me the entrance to the path.

  2. I really enjoyed the book. There are a lot of great insights and good analogies. We have had our own interesting journey over the last few years. In this last few years, the peace, love and joy of the relationship with and presence of Jesus has become so much deeper and real.

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