And now to:
What if … ? again
Original sin – not for me. Being born a sinner – not for me. Having to sin because I was born a sinner – not for me either.
Where does that leave you and the cross and all that?
Not sure yet. But what if …
What if this bible we love to learn, study and quote … this bible fought over and still debated thousands of years after it was written … this bible that restricts as much as it frees … this bible without which Christians seem unable to be Christians …
What if we are meant to grow beyond all of that? What if we are meant to keep growing and growing beyond the bible?
Seems to me the bible is not a blueprint – earning salvation by doing is agreed as not where salvation is at (which for all the stuff that IS argued over is quite something).
Seems to me the bible describes a development in relationship. From toddlers of faith to adolescents of faith – maybe even as young twenty-somethings. But then it stops.
But I have been that. And I don’t “stop”. Life and learning continue. Living and learning and falling over and getting up again is living always.
So what if THIS bible takes us to the twenty-somethings? What if the expectation is that by then we each have enough “stuff” to become who we are. To be “I am” as a functioning, loving, living, independent “I am”. To leave behind the being told how to be the “I am” as youngsters in a world of instruction and teaching.
Because as I have not stopped at my twenties, nor have I loved less. I love differently to a toddler and an adolescent and maybe differently to a twenty-something – but loving differently is still loving. Each page and chapter of my life adds something and takes away something.
The essence of love is added, my perception of duty fades. Less “course of least resistance” and more “love”.
And isn’t that what the twenty-something bible invites?
If calling that “sin” and a “sinful nature” is necessary – then the bible has to be taken literally … the Garden of Eden has to be taken literally … Adam and Eve have to be taken literally …
And I have a problem with that.
“In-breeding” is legally disallowed as a formal relationship: I cannot marry my sister, my brother, or my parents. And in-breeding in other species …? The health of the species suffers … the genetic strength of diversity is diminished.
So I cannot take Adam and Eve as the sole source of human life literally.
Which begs the same question of Noah and the Ark: one family and a few animals … ? In-breeding again. And if any beneficent God is anything like this bible describes, then excluding diversity is not where its at. So now I have another problem …
Where does “literal” stop and “imagery” begin … when does fiction become fact … ?
In the New Testament … but why? Why is so much of the Old so easily labelled imagery (or not fact as we know “fact”) but the New isn’t? Why must I take some with a pinch of salt – and some not?
But – most of all – why must I stop at a certain point – become so certain of the bible as fact and literal (a.k.a. “the cross and all that”) – that I cannot explore anything new? Why cannot I consider (aloud) that the cross and resurrection might also be the same imagery … might not be as literal as we are taught … might be another “what if … ?” …
And why does that exclude me from a being a “true follower”?
Because the last I looked, this bible talks about “all” … says “for all” … says “follower” not prisoner … says “freedom” not bondage. It is religion that says “I believe in this and that … so you must as well.”
So what if …
The role of a “true follower” is to follow into places where religion says “Do Not Enter”?
What if that hesitancy … that lack of curiosity … is remaining a “young twenty-something”? What if that is the reality of the sentence “and many went home”? What if stopping at the gate of doubt is just following the path of least resistance? And what if the bible …
Was never the end game?