THE PALE GALILEAN
Galatians 3:1-3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
If they were completely honest, many people would have to admit that God is to them an almost entirely negative force in their lives. It is not merely that He provides that “gentle voice we hear…which checks each fault,” but that His whole Nature seems to deny, to cramp and inhibit their own. Though such people would never admit it, they are living endorsements of Swinburne’s bitter lines:
Thou hast conquered, O pale Galilean,
The world has grown grey from Thy breath.
Compared with their non-Christian contemporaries their lives seem to have less life and color, less spontaneity and less confidence. Their god surrounds them with prohibitions but he does not supply them with vitality and courage. They may live under the shadow of his hand but it makes them stunted, pale and weak. Although the thought would appear blasphemous to his devotees, such a god is quite literally a blight upon human life, and no one can be surprised that he fails to attract the loyalty of those with spirit, independence, and a keen enjoyment of the color and richness of life.
The words written above are a plan exposure of a false god, but of course the unhappy worshippers never see their bondage as clearly as that or they would break away. They are bound to their negative god by upbringing, by the traditions of a Church or party, by the manipulation of isolated texts of Scripture or by a morbid conscience. At last they actually feel that it is wrong to be themselves, wrong to be free, wrong to enjoy beauty, wrong to expand and develop. Unless they have their god’s permission they can do nothing.