To all my brothers and sisters in Christ who find solace in “God’s in control”: I respectfully encourage you to stop.
Stop needing God to be in control. It’s a problematic theology that’s not truly helping you or others.
But why? Five reasons come to mind:
- We use this in a theologically inconsistent way. It’s really hard to avoid implying that God causes numerous atrocities while saying God is in control. No matter how many times you defend the sentiment with “God’s ways are not ours” or “we can’t see the whole picture,” you’ve made a theological choice.
- We say it because we’re scared, not because it’s true. We need to listen to our anxiety, not ignore it. “God is in control” is like a drug, distracting us from potentially solvable problems rather than leading us to courageously face them.
- God’s upset by injustice. I have a hard time believing God is cool and calm when violence, hatred, and oppression rear their ugly heads. I think God is pissed. But I also believe God is more like a caring, attentive and responsive parent then a stoic, hard-ass one.
- It’s patriarchal. The notion of a controlling God, where nothing out of God’s will is taking place, sounds like a relic of the days of kings. This is the God of slave-owners and abusive men, not the God of lighthearted but weepy, fiery but gentle, confident but teachable, foot-washing but foot-washed Jesus.
- It creates passivity. The “God is in control” narrative is silencing. It’s the kind of thing the oppressors tell the oppressed to maintain the status quo: just accept your suffering, God has a reason for this. What a horrible lie.
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