Putting God Behind Bars

I saw god today, tucked away in a small shrine with steel bars. The bars where there to protect him- from people – mostly from vandals and thieves. This particular shrine was for Ganesha, but I’ve seen the same thing with other gods. Shrines to Shiva or Krishna or Rama can be found all over India, often with bars and locks to protect them. When I saw this for the first time it struck me as odd, yet somehow familiar. I have seen this done back home in the US as well. We lock God away behind bars of worship and service and fear. We do it to protect him from people – not just vandals and thieves, but people who might otherwise take His righteousness and holiness for granted. For surely a God who is perfect, powerful and all sufficient should not be cheapened by relationships such as friendship, right? And the confusing part is that all of those things are true. Just like those bars really do protect Ganesha and Shiva from thieves and vandals, God really is holy and righteous. He is all sufficient and does not need any of us. His holiness is so great that we cannot even comprehend it and our only response when confronted with it is worship. But God knew that his perfection stood in the way of us having a...

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