This morning I need the bible. To float and bask. To draw life and energy. To restore and heal. And what am I given?
Mark 11:11-26 – the cursed fig tree and overturning the temple tables. Hardly the soothing place I hoped to find myself.
Except for this – a long-term curiosity – that “fig tree” …
Verse 14: “Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.” And verses 20-21: “In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
This little exchange has always puzzled me.
It was not “fig season”. The tree was just being a tree – what more could it be? That tree was a living thing doing what living things do – living peacefully by the side of the road. It was no threat and there was no reason for zapping this tree. And the implications have always been a little sinister for me.
AND I have heard the “we forgive you God” teachings which can be summed up as “Jesus expects us to be ready for Him at all times.”
For what? For more “kingdom work”? And why always “work”? Because in the “inerrant and infallible” bible there is always the real factual tree – always the real factual zapping – and that is always (really) malicious – and is never “love is always the answer”.
But, for me, the bible is no longer “inerrant and infallible”.
And – maybe because of that … ?
Hello verse 11: “Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.”
Since it was already late (there was no one there).
The tree is not “a fig tree” – and the zapping is not a “zapping” – it is just imagery in reinforcement of “the factual”:
The fact is that religion has “seasons” even today (just look at the church diary) – religion NEEDS seasons – a “season” for this and a “season” for that – and a season of “fallow ground” (when nothing much happens) – because that’s what happens “in between seasons” and before the next (church calendar) “season”.
More “kingdom work” is NOT what this is about – NOR the “fulfilling of scripture” – NOR is it about being a Good Christian (or Good Pharisee) …
And I find that healing. I find that restoring. I find that energising.
What do I mean … ?
This bible – this sacred text of many fights and disputes and divisions – this bible needed to be inerrant and infallible by some – this bible needed as a manual for living by others – this bible that is always a “sacred text” …
I now find to be the greatest sandpit I have ever been given.
A place to play … a place to throw sand as hard as I can just because I can … a place of building and rebuilding … a place sometimes of slippery grains and other times of sticky constructions. A place where the only rules are the rules I create (and then blame on the bible for having rules).
This morning the bible no longer has rules. This morning I see me making them up for you and me and you and you (and then breaking them every day). This morning I see you making them up for me and (ditto)
Today I believe there was NO zapping of an actual tree. Today I believe love IS always the answer.
That this One of oneness is inviting love to be my answer always because there is NO “season” for love – that it doesn’t matter where or when or why or how – that love is not a “good deed” – that love is not “faith in action” – that love is not a “commandment” – and that love is not something I can switch on and off – because “love” is not a tradition or ritual or form of church OR calendar OR bible.
The imagery and invitation for me today is this:
“Do you love because you “love” – or because you have made it (another) “kingdom work” rule (to be switched on and off)?”
This morning I needed gentle healing – and it came from a place I would not have expected.
Amazing! When I need a bit of lift I usually turn to Pratchett. His writing always puts a smile on my face and while some his writing is astute social commentary he never condemns the reader.
I suppose we all have our favorite works of fiction, but I have always found the bible somewhat violent and quite vile in many places.
Each to his or her own, I guess, right?
Morning Ark, hope you are not in need of Pratchett this morning.
Each to his own works for me as well.
Have a great day. 🙂
Bonjour, Monsieur Paul. Comment ca va?Actually, I may have overstated the ”need”, as dear old Terry is one of my favorite writers and I am in fact, busy with his novel, Making Money.
Most mornings merely acknowledging I am alive and well is enough to put a smile on my face.
Why anyone would even consider reading the bible for anything other than scholarly research, which in the main is such an dreadful collection of Bronze age nonsense that celebrates slavery, murder, incest, genocide and then pretends its ”author” loves us is completely beyond me.
But I am curious all the same – why do you feel any emotional need whatsoever to read the bible, when the works of a brilliant author like Terry Pratchett are available?
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As you told me yesterday – “As we only seem to butt heads over religious issues, why do you want a conversation about such issues?”
I am curious – you asked for my views yesterday and now again today. Other than for a platform to do your own preaching … why do you keep asking?
You are aware of how I feel about religion – all religion.
We both host blogs and both are free to visit – and comment.
I suggested that there be openness and honesty if we are to have any sort of conversation, and we both know how that was received, do we not?
So you write, extolling the virtues of the biblical text, or at least the cherry picked parts you wish to reference and write about, and I, in turn, comment and remind you of the truth of that text which, evidence reveals, flies in the face of your poetic rhetoric.
You are of course at liberty to delete my comments.
As you said to me.
Ark, last one.
You twist so much whilst portraying yourself as “Honest John”. You have no interest in “openness and honesty” nor in “conversation” as was evidenced under your post again yesterday. And then you cannot help but slander and slur: “and we both know how that was received, do we not?” No we do not – other than you simply want to grandstand for any “wavering believers” passing by later.
I would never “delete your comments” – but I have and do and will stop you from adding comments here as I have told you before.
And for clarity: that is because you contradict yourself, twist words to big-up your views and diminish others, do it all with two-faced “innocence” – and always follow your own agenda much better than any politician. Probably worth adding that you said on more than one occasion that your only interest is in attracting those who are starting to doubt the teaching of the church.
There is nothing “open and honest” in your interactions with those who do not believe as you do. Over three years+ you have me taught me that repeatedly. I think you a wonderful chap. But you carry a mind more closed than many you dismiss on this topic.
No more comments here please.
You have no interest in “openness and honesty”
This is a flat out lie.
It isn’t even a misrepresentation or a misunderstanding.
And this makes you a damn liar.
You simply loathe the fact that when the flagrant perniciousness of your cherry picked version of Christianity is pointed out and hung out to dry you have to then quickly cover it up or disguise in what ever fashion you can, very much like an embarrassed cat in its dirt box.
You waffle on and on and (almost) never give a direct answer to straightforward questions.
And this is why I continue to write about religion and the fact that, like Hitchens noted, it poisons everything.
It is simply toxic.
And you are living proof.
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Ark, let’s make the last one then. Only because your comments are totally stuffed of belief and opinion. As much belief and opinion as any “believer” I have ever come across.
Although a lot less kind than many others I have met. But that just seems to be you. Unkind – and spouting beliefs as evidence – just like the worst of those you dismiss.
Reblogged this on Re-theologizing and commented:
Healing from fruitless trees
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