“I prefer the full title: “The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It” – Peter Enns. And far from being heretical, I think it should be compulsory reading for every Christian – along with some of the gems you have put my way.
How wonderful to not have to continue defending the indefensible! How wonderful to be free to come to know the essence of so many “religions” that have been hidden from view in all the rituals and individual “agendas”. How liberating to love without having to worry about who or why. How connecting to be able to freely “worship” with anyone and everyone. Not worship of a specific “size, shape and form god” – but in love and community. In something that IS real. Living and loving.”
An extract from a conversation in a place and time not far from here.
The bible says many things. I was taught to believe all of them. But I found some stick better than others – that some don’t stick at all – that a lot slides – that I slide. Because like so many clubs with membership rules, I will usually do the minimum.
And when I come up against a “jobsworth” who demands every “t” is crossed and every “i” dotted – then I will always try and find a way to use those same rules against the jobsworth. It’s a slider thing.
There are jobsworths and sliders in every club I think.
Take marriage. The most exclusive of all “clubs”. A club (usually) of two. A club that expects everyone else to be excluded. A club that has many sliders. A club that allows each to destroy their club and start another.
Now take this God/faith stuff. It was intended to be an exclusive club of two (as far as I can see). Just like a relationship. I think that is how it was intended. It’s just that we have been told it is not an exclusive club. It is a club with rules set by someone else. And I have found that not to be healthy.
Because just like a young married couple – who begin a journey of the rest of their lives. Stuff happens, and the relationship adapts. Children happen (or don’t) and the relationship adapts. Bad stuff happens – good stuff happens – unexpected stuff happens – and the relationship adapts or dies. The rules are not the relationship. The love is. A real relationship lives in real life.
Which is why I have found “rule books” of marriage (and parenting) to be absolutely useless as a template to be followed. But as a different perspective from time to time? As an alternative view? As relevant “then” but not now?
Wonderful … Helpful … Even inspiring!
But the only rule I hold onto in my relationship is: I will love you as I love the better me until we both shall die.” That is my glue of commitment. The rest is simply finding how to allow that promise to flourish.
So I have never ever considered living my life by these “self-improvement” books. Not in their entirety and not all the time. That would be madness for me and our relationship.
But when “religion” and/or “faith” (of a specific definition) tells me that the bible (or whatever sacred text) must be lived and obeyed and served and worshiped in its entirety all my life (post-saved) … and not just that, but also how, when and where and with whom …
Is that healthy for me AND my relationship?
Would you really accept that in your own long-term relationship as to your advantage and that of your partner? Or would you ask why? Wouldn’t you ask whose agenda and why even a need for an agenda?
Because as I was writing this piece I suddenly realised …
In all my married life I have never ever looked at my partner or anything in this love filled space and said: “How wonderful to not have to continue defending the indefensible!”
So why do we accept that as what “God” (or whatever your name) wants of us in the bible/sacred text? Isn’t that why – so often – we become “faith” sliders or jobsworths? Because having to follow the rules set “by the club” makes us either one or the other?
And does that make “the relationship” expendable so long as we are in the club.
And isn’t that “dualism” rearing its tempting head again – the “either or” of institutional religion?
And just how is that “choice” healthy?