Advent. Are we taught to fail?


“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, …“ (Luke 10:21-24)

Seventy-two appointed. Sent out. Seventy-two return. Seventy-two winners’ reports. “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Jesus is “full of joy through the Holy Spirit”.

According to my bible, the “Holy Spirit” did not make an appearance until way after that. After the cross and the tomb.  After Jesus had gone back to heaven. Only then was the Holy Spirit upon them. Maybe (because Jesus is Jesus) He was allowed to be conjoined way before then. Maybe they (the bible writers) wrote with hindsight. Maybe the Holy Spirit has always been upon us if we allow (Old Testament included). Maybe the name of the “Holy Spirit” is “membership language” – shorthand for this intuitive sense, this voice of God, this knowing, this connected knowing, this how did that just happen, this “that is not me – I can’t do “that””, this all who know Christ all “know” in our own ordinary everyday lives.

More and more I like “what if” as I read my bible.  I like “maybe” as I read these verses. Keeps me in state of open curiosity. Means I find/see/hear/know something new every time. Means I should expect to find something new every time.  Or else I am simply marking time.  And if I allow that …

That becomes – that IS – my journey.  I become God-Deaf/God-Blind. After a while the “membership language” becomes the voice of God. After a while we go God-Deaf and God-Blind together.  That is the bible I was taught.  The go-to encyclopaedia of God – the how to be a Christian (of the good kind) bible.

The bible wherein questions of chronology and evidence are my stumbling block. Where I have to compromise an “inerrant and infallible” written record of God-History.  And in which – until I can answer these “core questions” – I am not qualified to be sent out to tell others about God (because those demons will never submit to me).

And so I will doubt myself and my God. And I will defer to others and their qualified chronology and evidence of my bible. And that will make me a sower (of seeds) of doubt.  And that makes me a liability for God.  And I am taught that we keep our liabilities in church (and out of sight).  Because I am just a broken sinner saved by grace.  And I will be safe in church.  Just not allowed out of church.

Advent.  A time for reflection. For purifying. For retreating. For preparing. For doing that in church.  Out of sight.  Which reinforces this “liability for God” stuff.  And on such qualified “Godly relationship counselling” we each judge our success (or not) as “Christians”.  I wonder …

Are we taught to fail?

Because each of us desires/seeks/has/is already in a relationship with “a significant other”.  And yet, if we ran that relationship in the way we are taught to have a relationship with God … That would be a relationship on the rocks – holed below the waterline – terminally broken – needing an external (in this case, “church calendar”) kiss of life (again – and again).

“Seventy-two appointed. Sent out. Seventy-two return. Seventy-two winners’ reports. “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

My bible says it is so much more. My God says I am so much more. My Holy Spirit is so much more than a programme. My God Soft Hands Jesus is a kick-ass-fun-loving-make-the-impossible-possible-time-after-time-if-I-allow-ordinary-and-everyday-all-day-God-who-rocks-as-I-rock-and-who-changes-as-I-change-God.

“Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Why can’t we each say that every day and all day?

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5 thoughts on “Advent. Are we taught to fail?

  1. The Spirit was around since the very beginning. No telling who or when God chooses to imbue with His Spirit. God is not boxed into a formula. Some now even say we don’t receive the Spirit until we are baptised. Piffle. As you so aptly stated, “My God says I am so much more. My Holy Spirit is so much more than a programme.” He decides, not us. He makes the rules, not us. Which gives us a great reason to remain humble and loving and watch for His daily miracles.

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