The Bible. God’s Word. It is. It is not.
“Jesus said “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also. Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.” John 12:24-26
Topics … Death. Life. Lost love. Love lost. Service. Investment. Return. Bondage. God. Son of God. Reward. Eternity. Choice.
Slavery. Racism. Discrimination. Segregation. Occupation. Taxation. Death Penalty. All realities in the life and times of all these dusty peeps. The Law. The Chosen People. The spiritual elite. The spiritual unclean. Sacrifice and blood. Stoning and killing. All headline religion activities. All realities in the life and times of these dusty peeps.
And when we see these “activities and realities” today … they are always of “them” who want to dominate “us”. Them are ungodly, false gods, wrong god wrong size imperfect god. Us are godly, true god, right size and perfect god. Them are bad because Us are good.
We don’t kill and sacrifice living things any more. We just wash ourselves clean in blood. His blood. Freely given for us (not them). Gay. Poverty. Homelessness. Gun law. Gun crime. Global corporations. Ineffective government. Secular. Religion. Politics. Commerce. Technology. Data capture. Personal freedom. War on terror. Global surveillance. All realities in our life and times.
If Jesus walked amongst us today …
Which of our “hot buttons” would He press? Which political “one issue” issues would He NOT give the same recognition we do? How many – and which labels – would He offend and “attack”? What realities that we all live with would He see with a new and loving eye?
I follow on WordPress a beautiful creation called Semra Polat. She happens to be a Muslim. I happen to be a Christian. We should have nothing in common (I am told by Christians). Her faith is the wrong faith (ditto). Her prophet is not even in the same league as my God (ditto again). “Muslims” are the cause of so much “terror” (and again). “Christians” are becoming ever more marginalised (and again …). I should defend my God against their prophet (ditto and ditto again!).
Apparently I should do lots of things in the name of love (God) that are not of God (love) that I can see.
Because I hear these “invitations” to be of power and control and empire and earthly kingdom. I see that stuff and those “invitations” in the Bible as well. That was also a driving force when Jesus walked amongst the dusty peeps. That was prophecy! That was expectation! That is entitlement! And that is not love.
I follow Semra because she sees love. We have that in common. So I am honoured that she follows my blog. I hope she sees the same in these words.
Jesus walked at a time when there was so much division. So much hatred. So much pain. So much to divide rather than unite. And what did He “attack”?
Nothing that I can see.
He connected. He touched. He walked and walked some more. He invited. He asked. He allowed. He accepted. He allowed each to responsible for their own choices. He challenged each when inhumanity to another was their choice. Whether that was in the name of the unwritten YHWH, for a secular reason, or just because “that is how we do things around here”.
Oh – and He lived in not apart – He walked through not around – He touched all not just some – He saw all not just some – He crossed boundaries and no-go areas – He brought light and love for all and with all – and He preached parables about all: The Good Muslim. The ten gays. The drug addict’s mite. The Suicidal Son.
And He met dogma with grace. In matters of belief and faith, conspiracy theory and culture, education and ignorance, tolerance and vitriol (are we talking today or the Bible?) Jesus and God always invited – never demanded.
And still today we confuse “belief in” with “evidence of” … And they are not the same. Belief comes first and changes my experience to evidence. And THEN we tell others why they should believe our evidence. Problem is – we don’t “work that way”.
Jesus gets that – why don’t we?
I believe. Semra believes. Not the same. But enough to connect. I am not trying to convince Semra, nor she me. We have both accepted the invitation of faith and belief. Another thing in common. We both see love in each other. Something else in common. And if you choose not to believe either in the faith of Semra or myself – then you and I and Semra all have something in common: our choice of belief. That choice does not make me wrong just as it does not make you right. Because just as Semra does not have to jettison all her beliefs and accept mine – I don’t either – nor you. That’s not how my faith works –
My God has never invited me to hate another.
So why do we?