AND > OR – Jeremy Austill

While I was more of a “G.I. Joe”, “He-Man” and “Transformers” kind of kid, occasionally I found myself watching the classic “School House Rock”. If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s you can likely still hum the tune of their famous song, “Conjunction Junction”. Little did I know, as I sang along with the catchy tune, the incredible theological implications found within conjunctions. Sitting here all these years later, it is fascinating how a couple of short words can create such a wide chasm of difference in our journey of knowing God. One’s exploration of the divine is deeply intertwined with which conjunction is personally preferred.

One conjunction trends toward mystery, while the other, certitude.

One conjunction frequently leads to open doors, while the other to doors closed.

One conjunction allows for fluidity and movement, while the other tends to be rigid.

One conjunction creates some tension, while the other tends to create false security.

Certainly each has its place and time, but in our ascent up Mount God, one deserves more frequency than the other.

AND is the superior conjunction to OR.

One of the strongest inhibitors to exploring the mystery of God, and make no mistake God is a mystery, is our propensity to require an “or”. Discovering God’s nature and walking in the ways of Jesus, to the tune of abundant life, is infringed upon when we too consistently place an “or” where an “and” belongs.

More times than not, God is “this AND that” as opposed to “this OR that”.

Consider this. The beginning of “The Lord’s Prayer” should profoundly shape how we approach God. “Our Father WHO”…

God is not a system of operation, a formula to be implemented or a code to crack. He is not a set of rules, and 1+1 does not always equal 2. Why? Because God is a “WHO”…at least to the best of our ability, taking our cues from Jesus, that is how He is described. A “Who” functions with a degree of fluidity, diversity, spontaneity, unpredictability and nuance. In one instance a “Who” may do this, and in the next instance, they may do that.

A “Who” takes into account variables which defy tangibility. They operate not so much from hard data and laws, but from knowledge, instincts and intuition. Without a doubt, at times data and laws are a part of the equation, but not the whole. Systems, formulas and codes are cold, mechanical, predictable and ultimately…controllable.

“If I apply these three biblical principles, I will get this result every time.”

“If I do this and this, God will always do that.”

“If I do these four things wrong, God is certain to respond in this way.”

God cannot be controlled. Period. He cannot be controlled by our diligence in applying patterns we see in the Bible anymore than He can be predicted on how he will respond to a breach of those same patterns.

This is just a microcosm of the “and/or” conjunction. Anytime we use “or” to box God in or out of a particular way of operating, we have ultimately boxed ourselves out of truly knowing God. We often unintentionally attempt to handcuff him with statements than lean in the direction of “God is this OR that”. Often those attempts are rooted in personal agenda more than pure discovery of the nature of God. Basically, “I want God to look like I prefer him to look…I want him to do things in the way that best bolsters my point of view.”

Due to His personhood and His Omni capacity, God is most frequently, “this AND that”.

**Please do not read this and make the false assumption that in anyway I am trying to validate sin. As I said earlier, “or” certainly has its time and place. However, in our ascent up Mount God, “and” deserves more frequency than “or”.

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