For the past few weeks I have been drawn to put down the bible and leave it closed. And something odd happened …
But before I say what, let me ask you something. As a Christian, you will have sat or stood and said:
“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen”
And where does all that belief come from?
I have written posts of my own journey of faith and doubt, of relationship and distance, of questions and certainties – and of finding nothing was off-limits.
The bible began that journey as “taken for granted literal and factual and historically correct”. Through the journey that same bible has become not-literal and not-taken-for-granted. And yet despite that shift in belief, my relationship with God Soft Hands Jesus grew stronger.
And as my journey took me further away from being a Christian, my relationship grew stronger, and also made me a not-Christian with GSHJ. A not-non-believer on the way to being a non-believer but who wasn’t.
Do you realise that both believers and non-believers don’t argue over “God” (or God Soft Hands Jesus as I know that name). Both argue over the bible. The God of the bible. The proof and evidence of the God of the bible. The “taken for granted literal and factual and historically correct” (but not really) God of the bible.
And in putting down the bible and leaving it closed … I found I had less and less to write about. I began to realise that without the bible I sounded like anyone else. I had good days and bad. I saw goodness and non-goodness. I heard, felt and breathed life as an ordinary human being. Because without looking at the bible every day, or every week, or every few weeks … part of me was missing. The part that hears words and writes words. The part that communes with something we all have in common (or at least those who regularly read the bible) – the bible.
And an email from a dear friend tonight allowed all these disparate thoughts to connect.
Who is my relationship with? Is it with a living breathing entity I call GSHJ, or is it with the bible? And if the former – why this drift to “normal”? And if the latter – how is my relationship any different from those who live with the characters of Star Trek, Harry Potter … any fanzine enthusiasts feeding on “secular” words and images?
Because this post – and these past weeks – have been a journey without written words. And yet this post is still about the bible – the absence of the bible. Weirdly, this post still has the bible at its core.
Don’t you find that a little odd as well?
The journey with a closed bible (for now) continues …
I love how you just put it all out there. For me the Bible is a bridge to my relationship with God. Sometimes the Father, sometimes the Son and sometimes the Spirit but that collection of books no longer causes me guilt when I don’t read it. I DO feel guilty when I don’t go out and sit alone with God to listen or speak with no particular agenda. Or, if I don’t do something I really feel God prodding me to do.
I suspect many people are so intent to make a particular point concerning what is written in the Bible that they inadvertently lose sight (and communion) with God. 😦
LikeLiked by 2 people
Lilka, and I love how you just say how it is for you – thank you.
This post was an odd post to write. The bible still seems to have a disproportionate space in my relationship with GSHJ, and looking around at other blogs – the bible is on display at almost every turn. Take away the bible and talk about “go out and sit alone with God to listen or speak with no particular agenda” – and that is where “normal” – for me – make its appearance: the wonder (and pain) of living that is open to all – irrespective of religious belief or no religious belief.
And if that is also relationship with something bigger, then the religious requirement of “I believe” becomes a barrier rather than an invitation.
“I suspect many people are so intent to make a particular point concerning what is written in the Bible that they inadvertently lose sight (and communion) with God.”
You have prodded more thoughts! Thank you 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
I think many of us have been there at some point; I reminded a friend “going through” that this is relational and when you aren’t able, He holds your hand, but things stabilize on the axle after a while. I was hospitalized and didn’t have strength or energy to read or even meditate for a while, I got so broken over that lack the tears flowed, then a vision opened up before me of a very tall guy holding unto the hands of a child, walking on the beach : I heard in my spirit, “I am carrying you now”. Gave me great comfort, because I am accustomed to pushing after Him. The time comes when He truly carries us when we can’t. God bless. vw
LikeLiked by 2 people
vw, we have had a “concise” comment relationship over the years 🙂
“… I am accustomed to pushing after Him.”
I think is true for so many – and for so many a lifetime of pushing. For some time I have been a “360 degree follower”. Because for years I was a “2 degree follower”. God was ahead and I had a thin line/small path to follow. There is a lot of pushing in that following. And a lot of pushing away as well. Pushing away others’ thoughts, lifestyles, opinion, questions, unspoken questions – and pushing towards a biblical (and church taught) objective: to be like Him (as defined not in the bible, but in how the bible is taught).
Yet the bible does not teach teach. The bible invites. The bible does not need to be factually and historically “fact”. The bible is more than that (and less than that). The bible offers rather than tells. And the imagery works for some some of the time. Yet that was never a s bible I was taught. And I still see and hear those who have to return to the “essence of the bible”: God punishes those who do not believe and rewards those who do.
“The time comes when He truly carries us when we can’t.” I am not sure we ever can, or ever should do anything else. 🙂
Thank you vw – it may not come across this way, but I feel more secure in a very personal and changing belief as I stop pushing and follow 360 degrees with all around.!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pingback: Who is my relationship with? +1 | Just me being curious
we do not believe the Creed, so much as we are taught it as the various Council’s summary of the “facts” of Faith.
We all agree or disagree with it and so it remains.
Even those who deny God’s existence hold a belief in God.
As do those who do or don’t read Scripture or do or don’t believe the various things it is or is not.
If we are holding strongly even just to the hem of his robe we will be healed, drawn back, or pushed away.
There are no “shoulds” nothing we must do, whether we turn to or from Scripture it is so that we might learn, as you have learnt what it is to be without either or both; as Children of the Most High we need to experience the lack of God and the fullness of God’s presence. In both we experience and delve more deeply into ourselves where God is.
The Holy Spirit, it is she who draws us to contemplate or to hold hands with the Word who is our brother.
Have no fear BE
“we do not believe the creed”
If that is true (and I am not sure it is universally) it seems to me that is a great reason for change! And maybe a change that would allow a little more inclusivity and a little less pretending 🙂
“Have no fear BE” – if in this we must have fear, then I fear (!) delving deeply is off-limits. Because in this is the one part of my life I have found to have less and less reason for fear.
Hi Paul, not a universal Truth, a belief taught in Church, when we were children in that it measures the flow of liturgy, daily or seasonally, it is absent in Lent and Advent- this is the what. A summary of faith. Yet I question my faith, and what does it mean to me, This fracturing of The Mystery? How can I believe unless it is something given for me by Mystery. Yes, How to express our creeds for today, and all the to days to come.
The small of faith need to be essence with God, t o begin their true knowing
Neither do I fear I am not afraid to be a heretic by Creed, I relate with the One who alone knows the Absolute Creed
Tell and learn, show and tell, then maybe explore and tell, then maybe just be and become who I am.
Yes, all of those
LikeLiked by 1 person