Praise God and He’ll objectify you!

Today I got introduced to the ‘pumpkin gospel’, and I can’t get this disturbing image out of my head. For context, here’s the version I got:

A 10-year-old little girl was asked by a classmate, “What is it like to be a Christian?”

I’m going to pause right here just to point out that there isn’t really a ‘right’ answer to this question. Different people are going to answer it differently, and while many of them might think that their answer is the right one, everyone experiences Christianity in different ways and their answer will reflect that. The following certainly isn’t how I’d answer this question!

Moving on.

The girl replied, “It’s like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and then he carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.”

I started getting disturbed when I got to cutting the top off, but after reading it over there’s more here that bugs me–mainly the lack of agency that is given. You don’t become a better person, you are made into what He wants you to be. Maybe it’s because my background is specifically Catholic, which tends to have a greater emphasis on works than Protestant denominations, but I can’t help but feel that this is a bit of a cop-out. You are not the one who is putting any effort in becoming this smiling light the world will see. Not that I can’t see the appeal of such an approach, it’s the point I’m missing.

The other thing that bugs me is this image of ‘hollowing out’ the person. I can’t help but see that as a destructive approach. God remove the bad parts of you rather than making the bad parts better. He makes you less than you were and makes you a vessel for showcasing His glory. It makes it sound like being a Christian is about letting yourself be used for another being’s ends rather than finding ways to make your own life better, or about doing good in the world. I realise that this is an allegory, and a condensed version of it at that, but it does tie in with what I’ve read from others about how some of the more conservative Christian circles are all about looking good on the surface while ignoring the substance of people and relationships, giving an image of a God who doesn’t care about you, just about how He looks.

All in all, I’m left with an image of hollow people wearing Stepford smiles and jagged cuts in their skulls, and that’s just creepy.

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