“And if we could not have our bible (or whatever sacred text), would we be believers? Would (name your One) be worth the fighting and killing and dying?” (paulfg)
Well, most of the early church didn’t have Bibles, and many couldn’t read it if they had one. Yet, they were willing to be fed to the lions, be subjected to torture, and other forms of martyrdom for their faith. God isn’t the Bible or a doctrine. You won’t willingly become lion food for those kinds of things. He is love in relationship, and you will go to any lengths for love. (I love the Bible, btw, just in case someone gets the wrong idea here.)
Good stuff, Paul! Yes, you’re strange, out there, teetering on the brink…but that’s why we love you so much. 🙂 (Mel Wild)
And I found this reply came out like an exhale of all that has gone before in the “Am I the untouchable” series … I have edited slightly for clarity.
(thank you all – for all that you give me – every day)
“Thank you Me. The “teetering” (for me) is not and never has been (so far) “teetering”.
It is simply enjoying the infinite width, breadth, length, depth, weight, lightness, shades and colour, sounds and scents I have been given – that are available right now for all of us. The more I explore the less need I have of limiting that banquet and party by going “nose blind” or “eye blind” or “sense blind” because someone says that I must (if I want to be accepted).
Some while ago, there was a conversation on this blog about “outriders”. Those who lived their lives on the fringes. Never part of the pack (but always part of the pack). I remember chatting then: “is “the pack” reluctant to follow because of fear of following, is the pack jealous of an outrider for the freedom they have, is an outrider to be kept at arm’s length in case they end up getting eaten … ? But mainly – just what kind of world would we have without outriders?”
I never thought of myself as “that” before. I still find it hard to consider myself as “that”. Because the more I explore – the more there is to explore.
And I love the bible – I will love whichever sacred text you throw my way. So long as no one expects me to swallow it whole – so long as you allow me to explore – so long as you don’t demand that everything you find unpalatable I find unpalatable.
Like (which) “faith”. Like (which) “God”. Like (which) “worship”. Like (whose) “sin”. Like all the (different varieties of) religious “road furniture” we think (believe) gives us (god endowed) rights over (god barren) others.
More and more for me “kindness” is the key.
Because I find more and more that I cannot hate you AND be kind to you (not if I don’t know you). If I don’t know you and I cannot be kind to you – it is because of what I believe you to be – not what you actually are. And if I can do that to you (hate you) then you can do that to me (hate me) without knowing who I am either. Except we don’t hate each other – we hate because we believe we should hate. And THAT is weird!
But now flip that.
If I can be kind to you simply because I don’t know you – then perhaps you can be kind to me as well. And if we can be kind to each other without knowing what we each believe, who we each are, what our different journeys are, where our journeys are taking us, what choices determined which paths we follow .. then can we ever hate each other? And as we find out what those decisions were and why – who the people are in our lives – what we enjoy and what we are good at … will we not simply find more and more in common (rather than less)?
And if we still have little in common as we do get to know each other … ?
I may not love you. Not like a brother from another mother. But I can love you like I love ice cream, or a big fat steak, or a great film, or the smell of freshly cut grass, or the sight of a heart-stopping sunset or sunrise. I can love you like that.
Because some days I don’t want ice cream. Some days I want to sleep and miss the sunrise. But I know I can have an ice cream when I want. And I know the sun will come up tomorrow and the day after that.
So I can love you today or tomorrow or the day after that. I have not need to hate you. Which makes being kind really easy. And hating you really hard.
And I like easy.
And BOTH living and religion got me to this point of my journey – because religion is simply part of living. For me that makes religion like breathing – it just is. But it is what I did with both living and religion that – for me – is what matters.
What I did with the bible. The church. The words written, the words spoken, the people who speak them to me, and the people who listen with me. Some are of religion and a lot are not. Some were inspirational and some were complete and utter nightmares. Some I would trust with my wallet and heart – a lot I would not.
But I find this to be true more and more:
Every time I trust you I cannot hate you. Every time you” let me down” (whatever that means) I still don’t have to hate you. And if you rip me off – it is probably because I closed my eyes to something – because I wanted something for nothing (or a lot less than it would usually cost). Or because someone had “told me” that I should close my eyes to something. Or “believe things” without asking questions. Or just because I was having a bad day and wanted to be somewhere else and I stopped what I usually do.
Checking “the feedback” of connection.
But every time I am told I must not trust so quickly, should not connect so easily, should not talk to random strangers so confidently – I shrink a little inside. I withdraw a little each time. And it changes me. Because I come to believe that this person might hurt me. Or that person might rip me off. Or that person might disrespect me. Or that person might not like me. That person might laugh at me. That person might find me a bore. That person might … and the list of speculation goes on and on. The reasons to withdraw and shrink become a way of life.
But I have to have a catalogue to get through each day. Or else I have to check each and every person – and I simply don’t have to time to do that (and I might get ripped off if I start talking to them)!
So I have labels. Labels that mean I don’t have to talk to you. I don’t have to check the feedback because there is no connection to check. And just like a pressure cooker about to burst – all the “must not” and the “might” and the labels and the “watching out for me because no one else will watch out for me” all the “I trusted someone once and look where it got me” builds and builds.
And hating you without knowing you is the release. Hating you for being the label I have given you (or have been told to give you) is the release. And if “hate” is too strong a word – then what is the right word?
What word describes intentionally assuming that because of my label for you – you are dangerous to me – all without knowing you – and without you knowing me?
Because the consequence is toxic.
Maybe not at first. But like “poison” it seeps in everywhere. Slowly and silently. I think hate is the toxic outlet of suppression. Hate is the toxic result of having to do this or that to be accepted.
And sacred texts play their part. Religion plays its part. But I have found this …
When we run out of things to argue over – some wily bastard will always find just one more!
And I have just written (touch six) – thank you for allowing this release! 🙂 “