Popeye and Spinach Theology – Conclusion

by: Larry Davies | Sep 19, 2015

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 crisis are more than “Spinach Theology” can handle:

1. Nine people murdered during a Bible Study at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston.
2. Eight police officers murdered in the line of duty within 30 days.
3. Two reporters killed and another wounded doing a routine story at Smith Mountain Lake.

When prayed for miracles don’t happen? When large scale crisis 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 is not 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 may only rarely see “Spinach” moments where problems are overpowered but what we often overlook is someone providing comfort and strength to endure what is happening or providing answers to help us change our behavior. What you can rely on is a Source who allows you to put things in perspective, find ways to cope and reminds you 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 a 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.

What about the three examples of senseless violence? How should we respond? There are no easy answers but we can and should respond as Christians guided by God’s light.

Shortly after the shooting at Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, many churches devoted one Sunday as a time of confession and prayer as we deal with the persistent problem of racism. A few churches in our area are praying for and connecting with African American churches nearby to see how they can more closely worship and serve God together.

Recently, someone saw an officer filling up his patrol car. Quietly, he walked over and stood behind him and said: “I just want you to know that I have your back.”

After the murder of the two reporters, people sent flowers to nearby television stations and newspaper offices while others sent cards offering prayers and support.

When your burdens seem overwhelming? God provides a 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.

Jermaine Watkins an African American pastor at Journey Church in Charleston spoke to a group of religious leaders shortly after the shooting at Emmanuel AME church. Rev. Watkins declared, “what unites us is stronger than what divides us.”

To hatred, we say no way, not today.
To racism, we say no way, not today
To division, we say no way, not today.
To loss of hope, we say no way, not today.
To a racial war, we say no way, not today.
To racial fear, we say no way, not today.
To reconciliation, we say yes.

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 your hope and redeeming your life.

Next Week: A testimony of God’s light providing hope in the midst of despair.


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