A Valid Question from “The Great God Brown”


“The Great God Brown” is play written by Eugene O’Neill that can be read for free here. It’s pretty philosophical, theological, and can be a bit heavy-handed at times, but over all I really liked it.

What I wanted to write about was a line that I had passed over the first time I read “The Great God Brown.” It didn’t really stick with me until I saw it mentioned in Brennan Manning’s “The Ragamuffin Gospel” (which I highly recommend).  The quote is as follows:

“Why am I afraid to dance, I who love music and rhythm and grace and song and laughter? Why am I afraid to love, I who love life and the beauty of flesh and the living colors of the earth and sky and sea? Why am I afraid to love, I who love love?”

– The Great God Brown

I had never thought to really examine the quote in any depth, but if we are being honest how many of us live our lives in a similar way as William A. Brown?

Many of the Christians I know can be either completely apathetic or frantically trying to impress God to the extent that they are constantly on the edge of burning out. I am guilty of this as well. We so often try to run around and do spiritual practices in order to earn God’s love. We feel as if God is a passive observer who will punish us if we don’t read our Bible ever day, or if we fail to pray before we go to bed, or if we are not always happy and joyously full the holy spirit.

By doing this we are making it all about us without even realizing it. We are essentially trying to build up our spiritual muscles by denying ourselves or by forcing ourselves to do things we hate doing. In the end most of us will either give up trying, or we will become afraid to truly live as was the case with the fictional Mr. Brown.

In this way we forget that Christianity has very little to do with us. We forget that every good gift is from God and that we do not earn or deserve a gift. We forget that we could never pay back God for all he has given us and that our best efforts are as filthy rags. We forget that God loved us at our worst enough to humble himself, suffer, and die for us. So why do we think that God will one day just abandon us for not trying hard enough?

How about we live our lives with joy, purpose, and gratefulness. Let’s live our lives as if we worship a God who loves us unconditionally rather than as if we fear a meticulous wrathful God who is waiting for us to fail. God knew who you were when he took your sins upon himself. He knew your faults, your failures, your weaknesses, your strengths, your passions, and your fears. He created you and loves you, so let’s start living as if we believed that.

Let’s not be afraid to dance, to love, and to live life to the fullest. Let’s walk with God because we wan’t to, not because we have to. Let’s recognize the gospel of Grace for what it is, and start treating others as if that message meant something to us. Go live intentionally, passionately, and with a heart full of gratefulness and love for the one who made it all possible.

“I known that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in their toil – This is the gift of God”

-Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

 ”Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so , but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” 

-Romans 5:9-11


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