Friday, October 12, 2012

Thoughts on The Bible

I wrestle with wanting to somehow document, meticulously & chronologically, my faith-journey here. 
But it's just not going to happen. Especially not as precisely as I want it to. For a while I felt guilty, frustrated, & like-a-failure about that. Then I realized why
It's because other things rightfully have higher priority & claim on my time.
So I'll just drop here what comes, when it comes while I have a bit of time to scribble here, and eventually the blanks will get filled in, and, well, as for the chronology of it, I'll just have to grit my teeth & deal with it, & enjoy the crazy-quilt patchwork effect of my growth, learning & maturity NOT lining up linearly with the timeline I manage to cobble together :0)
One thing that has been hugely transformative for me has been my perspective of the Bible. 
My first thoughts of the Bible we're that it was an inscrutable, boring, archaic list of "thou shalt" & "thou shalt not". 
My first Sunday in a church that it hit me that people actually listen to the guy up front, the topic was The Prodigal Son & my thoughts vacillated between "Who told them I was coming??" & "I didn't know there were STORIES in the Bible!"
Then I joined the Amish & learned a LOT about the Bible. 
My thoughts on it then were that it was "the inspired Word of God", that it was "God-breathed", that it was "Holy" & a direct quote from the mouth of God. I had a reverence for it as almost magical. 
After leaving the Amish & the Plain Churches, I've had my beliefs torn down to rubble & have been rebuilding my... faith (?) spiritual perspective(?) 
This is a very good thing that I think we should all do several times. We are so apt to pick up so much kitsch on our journey through life, spiritual included. (Maybe even especially?)
I've come to a stop, a place where I can go no further in any direction until I have an answer. 
"What do I think of the Bible? What do I truly believe about it?" 
Not just "What is a good solid argument / line from my group that is difficult to refute?" but "What do I truly believe?" 
Because no matter how good the argument is, if I don't truly believe it, it's worthless. 
Here, in a quick nutshell is what I truly do believe about the Bible right now, always subject to change!
I say now that the Bible is not "The Word of God". 
Jesus is "The Word of God". 
Jesus is not the BIble. Ergo, "The Word of God" is not the Bible.
So then  what is the Bible? I believe that the Bible is a record of God's story. That it was written by men who were seeking & hearing from that Comforter who guides into all truth that we were promised. That that Comforter was One with Jesus. I also believe that just like the church, the received text is subject to corruption by human sin.  One example is the fifth-century interjection of "without cause" into Matthew 5:22, changing from "never be angry" to "never be angry without cause" (as though people who are angry ever think they don't have cause). Yet despite that reservation, I am extremely reluctant to dismiss or ignore the words of the Bible, and I use the Bible as a way to tune my ears to the Holy Spirit, just as listening to a recording of a person's voice can help you pick that person's living, present voice out of a crowd. 
I have the Bible on the same mental "shelf" with other books that resonate with the truth taught and illuminated within me by that same spirit( books by A. W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, Hannah Whitall Smith, Francis Chan, Shane Claiborne, Ann Voskamp... Human writers, driven to write by their desire to seek & draw closer to that Comforter, that Spirit, who will speak the truth to all who seek it. People with a hunger to know God. 
I don't agree with every word these people say, I don't hold their writing to be infallible: I read them, I ponder them, I hold them to the light and see if they are consistent with that which I already know of God.


And now I must sleep

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for a window into your thought process. I like what you say especially about periodically tearing away and rebuilding. It reminds me of a Rich Mullins line, "Everything that could be shaken was shaken, and all that remained is all I ever really had".