Popeye and Spinach Theology: A conclusion
When Popeye the Sailor needed help, there was always a can of spinach nearby to provide a supernatural fix. It’s tempting to think of God as the can of spinach, ready to provide answers. “Spinach Theology” is only good when a miracle follows. What happens if there is no miracle? Some people leave the church or reject God. Some attend, but stop believing a God of miracles.
Recent events reminded me that some crises are more than “Spinach Theology” can handle. Acts of violence in Nice, France; Dallas, Texas; and Baton Rouge La., offer stark reminders that we live in the midst of racism, hatred and violence that can impact anybody at anytime.
When prayed for miracles don’t happen? When large-scale crises confront us and solutions don’t appear? Do we walk away from the church? From God? Or, could we turn toward God instead and seek guidance toward better understanding questions such as: Who is God? Can I trust God? Where is God when crisis and problems overwhelm me?
Maybe God isn’t the problem after all? Maybe the real problem is our “Spinach Theology?” Maybe we need to rethink and reshape our faith. We want to believe in God! We want to believe in miracles! But we need to better understand the God who loves us, created you, cares for you and desires nothing but the best for you and me.
We rarely see “Spinach” moments where problems are overpowered, but we overlook someone providing comfort and strength in the midst of crisis. You can rely on a source who allows you to put difficulties in perspective, find ways to cope and realize that you are never truly alone.
God never promised to provide a can of spinach whenever needed. However, God does promise to always offer a light … Lord, you have brought light to my life; my God, you light up my darkness. — Psalm 18:28; The Lord is my light and my salvation – so why should I be afraid. — Psalm 27:1; Jesus said: “I am the Light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t be stumbling through the darkness, because you have the light that leads to life.” — John 8:12; Jesus said: “You are the light of the world — like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see.” — Mat. 5:14-16.
The light could and should shape our ultimate theology. Who is God? God brings light to our life and lights up our darkness. The Lord is our ultimate source of light so why should we be afraid? How do I know God? Jesus is the Light of the world, so if we follow Jesus, we won’t be stumbling in the darkness. How should I respond to God, especially in a time of crisis? We are the light of the world, so we should be visible for all to see. Let our good deeds shine. When your burdens seem overwhelming? God provides light for your darkness. When you wonder if life is worth continuing? God shines a light to calm your fears. When you struggle and stumble to find answers? Follow the Light that leads to life. When you seek God’s purpose? You are the light of the world, glowing in the night. Want some examples?
Shortly after the shooting in Dallas, Texas, churches and youth organizations across America held rallies, baked cookies and often stopped police officers in the street to offer prayer. Community leaders in areas of poverty held picnics and listening posts to offer opportunities for law enforcement as well as citizens in poorer communities the opportunity to be heard.
Recently, thousands gathered around the Washington Monument to pray about violence in our poorer communities. They were on their knees by the thousands, asking God to “break racism.” When your burdens seem overwhelming? God provides light for your darkness. When you wonder if life is worth continuing? God shines a light to calm your fears. When you struggle and stumble to find answers? Follow the Light that leads to life. When you seek God’s purpose? You are the light of the world, glowing in the night.
God never promised to provide a can of spinach whenever needed. However, God does promise to always offer a light … God’s light glowing in the darkness, calming your fears, renewing your courage, restoring hope and redeeming your life.
Larry Davies can be reached at email@example.com.