I read two blogs this morning.
Is ‘Shameless’ Anti-Christian? is a worrying-aloud: could this programme be used in a bible-study to ask the question: “Is the programme anti-Christian or not?” And the other was a “bible-study”: Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man here with GSHJ.
One is the fictional antics of a family on the fringes of society written as comedy. The other is a factual account (I was taught). And for the purposes of this post I am going to name both as “fictional accounts”.
We had Shameless in the UK. It is set in the “benefits culture” and abuse of that system – but with that “Cheeky-Chappy” style – which makes the characters not really “bad” – because underneath it all they are people we can laugh with as well as at. But it has too many loose morals, too much bad language – hence the “worry post”.
The Demon-Possessed-Man, on the other hand, is pored over by Christians with great enthusiasm: the fact of “bad spirits” … the fact of The Best Spirit … the good over evil … The Winner we all follow … And then the cultural “context” questions: outcasting of another human being … worth of (gentile pigs) animals … lifestyle and ethics of these gentiles compared to …
Both stories are on the fringes of society. Both tackle subjects not readily discussed in the mainstream of their ages. Both find goodness in “stuff” the rest of us would (if real-life) pass-by on the other side. Both are fictional – one taught as real. So we take one seriously and the other not.
Which leads me to hear this:
Why cling to my coat-tails all the time? Why this need for you to feel my garments in everything you read in the bible? Why can you not let go and walk as I walk? Why do you not trust yourself to walk as I walk? Why this need to not trust yourself and make me factually and historically real in everything you read and hear and see? How is that faith?
And leads me to see this:
A bible we read today we were taught as children: right wins over evil!
Yet here I am … A fermenting bubbling cocktail of everything I have ever seen, heard and experienced. A changing mix of stuff that rises today and sinks tomorrow … that guides today and repels tomorrow … which is a yes today and a no tomorrow … that is always a a scale that changes each and every day. I am neither one OR the other – I am both AND all.
There is no one OR the other – no “right OR wrong” – just this blurry fudging as best I can on my infinite and changing “scale”. A scale I use to justify my being-self-centred … the same scale I use to justify my not-being-self-centred.
And here comes Jesus. The Very Best Good there can ever be.
“I see you and I know you and you know me.” And the “scale” evaporates. Puff!
And with it my realisation: “I must lose this bad self-centred”. But how?
And the unasked question: “Can I use this “other way” that has no value to me?” And the answer. “Yes you can, but there is a cost.”
Because “the other” is someone else’s livelihood, someone else’s “good self-centred”, someone else’s culturally ethically okay living (without any bad at all).
I see a scale, a cocktail, a reality in this “story” of how I live – the choices I make today and every day: There is no absolute right or wrong.
Those are just laws that can never be me. Because “being me” requires me to choose more than just laws – more than just lawful right or wrong … To choose whether to see you as dear as I see me – to live amongst rather than apart … to live with you rather than without you … to be IN life and living rather than OUTSIDE real life in a safe place.
I see this “biblical fiction” as having real value to me today and tomorrow. So if I name this “factually and historically accurate bible” as “biblical fiction” to reach that place of discovery AND relationship with my GSHJ …
How does being a Christian (or not) even come into it?