Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Mail, Comments, and Complaints



Well, the last article really hit some sensitive spots, so I wanted to address some of the issues that I touched on in No More 'Christian' Organizations, Please. If something I said offended you, please don't be afraid to leave a comment. Most of you choose email, but I am not offended either way. I've said it before and I'll say it again. To think is to win. If you are thinking about your faith, about God, and asking questions about what it means to be human, then I am happy, whether we agree with one another or not. That said, I still have some strong opinions about certain things, not the least of which is the arrogance of so many Christian leaders.

Is the Bible Actually Holy? Or is it God who is Holy?

Humility remains the core of being human, as I read Scripture at least. When we assume we know it all, or that there is only one way to read the Bible, we are, in effect, appropriating divinity. In the Old Testament, we read that the Jews considered Yahweh to be 'Kadosh', which means Holy Other. Completely separate from humanity. Yet somehow we have translated Yahweh into the equivalent of a book that must be read a certain way. That strikes me as both arrogant and not well considered. What did Christians do for the first 1400 years before we had a printing press? The Bible (as we call it now) was read in community, even as Paul's letters were circulated through the early church. At no time would an early Christian consider the Bible to be the "Word"(as taken from John 1:1) and for that "Word" to be equivalent to the Creator. That is a modern and new understanding of Scripture that most scholars reject. This doesn't lessen the reverence for the text. I believe the Bible is theology in literature, the story of God's love for humanity, but it is the STORY of God, not God Himself.

I hear commentators say that God is "bound" by "His Word", and think again to how much we like to make God... god. How we like to put Him in the square box we claim to understand. It is the religious nature of humanity to worship something we understand, but it is the eternal set in our hearts that whispers God is bigger than us. We prefer the rituals and sayings and interpretations that reinforce our belief that we know everything about God, and that it is all in this handy book you can buy at the nearest Barnes & Noble.

That seems pagan to me. And mildly offensive. While the Bible is to reverenced and read and learned from, it should never be considered the replacement for God Himself. Much harder than deciphering "God code" is accepting our humanity and working on our relationship with the One who Created us. Silence and meditation is harder than study. Prayer is more difficult than ritual. And relationship takes more work than our Sunday affirmations.

-Steve

Note: I'll be addressing another comment from my mailbox later this week. Don't be afraid to comment here! Much love...