Wednesday, May 09, 2007

musing...



early this morning, in lieu of spewing invectives inspired by traffic, i thought about the way that i value scripture. when i was younger in the faith, i used to look at scripture as the unquestioned foundation of my faith. for this reason if i had doubts about God or felt emotional distance from the calling of the great commission i concluded that a lack of time in the word the core issue. at that time i also thought that the correct, common sense answer for all the social issues facing the church, such as women in ministry, stem cell research and the insiduous suppleness of janet jackson's breast, were located somewhere within scripture. thus, if i could only crack the code i figured that i could ascertain a revealed answer for everything.

i don't really look at scripture in the same way any more. instead of a compendium of absolute life principles and an objective, comprehensive statement on the beautiful, good and true, i now tend to look at scripture as an inspired collection of stories about God's creative, redeeming love and people's varying desire to either converge with or contradict God's story. thus, i read the stories of scripture in hopes of finding points of convergence for my community, family and individual story. conversely, as i listen to scripture i hope to find wisdom as i seek to keep the contradictions between my stories and God's stories as minimal as possible.

i suspect i'm not making much sense, but that's what i'm thinking about today. my prayer is that we will learn to listen well to both God's stories and our stories so that we will experience the joy of convergence as often as possible and avoid points of contradiction a little more effectively than we have in the past. pax.

6 comments:

W. Wilson said...

You're making great sense. It's a shared perspective regarding Sricpture that I find myself dwelling within quite often too.

Nicholas said...

Sounds like these stories are growing organically in you.

If you see the bible as a weave for a story of reedeeming love. . what do you do with the stories of a God bent on blood?

Not calling you out, I genuinely want to know how people deal with this.

g13 said...

nicholas, thank you for stopping by.

when i first read your question my immediate response was that i really don't know. i've been fortunate never to live under a theocracy and although i've read the old testament conquest stories on a number of occasions i have never "imaged" God as a partisan genocidaire or warlord. that doesn't mean that i deny the truth of the old testament stories or anything...i truly believe that God lead the israelites out of the death of slavery in egypt and into a new life in palestine. of course, by the self-same action God brought the death of displacement and slavery to the canaanites as well.

damn, where am i going with this?

my suspicion is that although the conquest narratives can be read as the record of a vengeful God bringing death to the outsiders so that he can fashion a new life for his people, the way God operates is much, much more complicated. such complications are evident when you consider that the israelites not only conquered and displaced, but eventually were conquered and displaced by YHWH on a number of subsequent occasions. the apparent cycle of destruction and reconstruction, displacement and replacement could lead me to wonder whether God is either capricious in his dealings or tyrannically bent on spelling out his sovereignty in blood.

but...on most days, i think that the old testament narratives give us a glimpse into the cycle of life as it really is. in order for the israelites to receive a new land, others had to be displaced, just as, eventually, the israelites suffered as others expressed their ambitions for empire. in the end, life and death are always more intimately related than we suspect. in my mind, this mysteriously beautiful relationship between life and death is played out most fully in the life of Christ, which illustrates so vividly how the fantastic hope of resurrection can spring out of the utter depths of despair. though i've read precious little of the writings of other religions, i know that they have beautiful ways of discussing this most beguiling relationship as well.

i hope some of that makes sense.

pax.

mike said...

yeah but the real question is does the bible say that people lived side by side with dinosours

g13 said...

sure! in sodom and gomorrah bi-peds and pre-historic quadrapeds did it like they do it on the discovery channel. i'm sure it seemed like fun at the time, but we all know how that turned out...

james said...

Laughing my ass off. I repeat...laughing my ass off.