My kids love cotton candy. I think everyone loves cotton candy. Did you know there is only one ingredient in cotton candy? Sugar. Cotton candy, it turns out, is just spun sugar. Aerated sugar. Delicious wispy sugar. Yummy, old Texas lady bouffant hair looking sugar.
Cotton candy has only one ingredient, and that one ingredient is not good for you. Cotton candy isn’t nutritious. It’s not filled with protein, or vitamins, or calcium, or riboflavin (what is riboflavin?!?), or anything good. What food group does cotton candy fit in? “Meat”? No. “Vegetables”? No. “Fruit”? No. “Dairy”? No. We have to create a new food group for cotton candy – “Sugar.” It tastes sweet, but has no substance. And we like it.
That’s how we like our God too. If we could order a God at Starbucks we’d say, “I’d like mine to taste sweet and have no substance. And make it a small.” We want a God who smiles a lot and wants nothing from us.
But there’s a problem. God doesn’t always taste sweet. And he has a lot of substance.
Hmmmm, turns out God may not be the God we think we’re looking for. What to do? Well, we’re not dummies. We’re not going to just abandon God altogether. And so instead we reshape God so he becomes more of what we are looking for. “I want to have sex with my girlfriend and God must understand that.” “Well, my God wants to prosper me and bless me and make me rich.” “I want to get drunk on weekends, and the Bible doesn’t say I can’t do that. Oh, it does? Well, it was written a long time ago.” “I’m supposed to give a big chunk of my money back to God? Well, I’ll do it … in the future. I’ll do it someday, when my finances are in a better place.”
We want a cotton candy god who tastes sweet and demands nothing from us, and that’s exactly who a lot of us are worshiping.