Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Ikea God

There is a new book called Man Seeks God: My Flirtations With the Divine by Eric Weiner, Weiner is of Jewish background but by his own description is a "gastronomic Jew" -- more into the food than the religion -- and a spiritual seeker. The book is about a year-long spiritual quest in which he explores eight different spiritual and mystical traditions in search of God. Weiner delves into everything from major religious traditions to fringe groups such as the Raelians.

Weiner speaks of discovering an "Ikea God" with some assembly required:  "[The] idea is that you can cobble together your sort of own personal religion, a sort of mixed tape of God." A few years ago the Canadian sociologist Reg Bibby coined the term "cafeteria spirituality" to describe the pick-and-choose approach of the late twentieth century. The quest for the Ikea God seems like a progression from that concept.

Perhaps there has always been a "some assembly required" reality to the human perception of God/god/To Whom it May Concern. Some would offer that the tribal God of the early books of the bible is not the God of covenant love in Jeremiah, and certainly not the God revealed in the new covenant of Jesus, the Christ. And different religions have profoundly different approaches to the deity.

The phrase My Flirtations With the Divine in the title of Weiner's probably says a lot about our time. It is the flirting, the chronic dabbling of our age which enervates us, it seems to me. When do we become grounded in a life-giving relationship with God? I am open to explorations of faith and faiths, and to different ways of expressing how we comprehend God. But eventually it is important to "dance with the one who brung ya."

Are you intrigued by the Ikea God? Would this work as a description of your faith, or do you hope for something more? Have you just out-and-out given God the Pink Slip?


Stacey said...

I often wish that politics worked like that too. Where you could take a little bit of this, and a dab of that, because I can never find a candidate or a party that works for me.

Ultimately though.. come election day, I have to choose the candidate whose values and ideals mesh with mine. I don't buy into grandiose promises and I like a candidate whose history has shown that they've put their money where their mouths are.

I think you can explore your faith, but deep in your gut, can you rely deny knowing what you truly believe in? The details may be fuzzy, but life is a journey. You can continue to question and explore.

I wonder if this 'trend' stems from a lack of commitment. I think it's a cop-out. If you don't commit and stay wishy-washy, you leave yourself a lot of wiggle room to make a get-away without having to be accountable. We see it with the marriage statistics, with enrolment in community clubs and even voter turn-out. I suppose it's not that surprising, but it is certainly a sad reflection of where we're at. Correction... where THEY are at. Because my feet are firmly planted.

Laura said...

You have used a phrase, I think, David about being soft on the outside, but strong at the core? That seems a better guideline for a living faith for me....yes, my understanding of God is ever changing and challenged by the world but the sense of Divine love at the core of my faith isn't. Hope I am remembering closely enough, not to be putting words in your mouth.