You must have had loads of people put words into your mouth.
Yes I did and still do. It goes with the job.
So the bible – is it you?
Is what me, Paul? The whole thing, or parts of the whole, or that the whole is nothing to do with me … ? I understand why you ask, but the answer is “Does it really matter?”
Which is no answer at all – not to your question.
And what is my question?
You ask because not believing the bible is me still feels like a betrayal of me. You ask because you believe the bible is a gateway rather than a destination. You ask because you believe you have passed through and are beyond that gateway. You ask because you believe you are closer to me because of growing beyond the bible. But you still cannot shrug off “The Bible is God” teaching you have had your whole life. My question to you is this …
Why must it be one or the other? Why must you carry this burden when there is no burden?
For some the “gateway” is the destination. Their destination is an encampment outside the gates. Each has many reasons and many doubts – just as you have. None of those reasons or doubts is wrong. Nor is an encampment a bad thing. And how do either of us know whether their “encamping” is simply a resting place – a place of healing – before moving on? Or maybe this encampment is a place that one never thought possible to even reach? Or maybe this place is just a place of contentment?
But the creeds: “I believe in this and that – the resurrection and life ever after stuff.” Isn’t “camping outside the gates” claustrophobic-limiting? Isn’t an encampment giving up and keeping my distance? Because just how is “all that” okay?
Forgive my laughter! How is “what” okay? And what does “okay” mean? Why must you always pick right or wrong … why always a flick of the coin … always one side or the other? Let me show you what I mean, Paul …
This “encampment at the gates” … those you think keep a distance … ? Your earlier words of “Toe-Nail Worship” as your imagery … their falling prostrate at my feet – never daring to look up – sit up (or ever stand) … in my presence … ?
What is your opinion on companionship, Paul?
I see where you are heading with this: Companionship is a good thing. So if “toe nail worship” is actually “companionship” … why do I judge those who desire nothing more … why do I think myself right to judge their “terminated journey” on what might just be a temporary resting place? And even if that place is permanent … why is that a bad thing? Why do I agree that companionship is good – yet judge those who are your “companions” … ?
Why … ?
Because that is giving up – because they don’t know what they are missing – will never know there is so much more!
I do say! I will say! Always!
And of your three-score years, how many years have you said this? How many years were you stuck in the bible – encamped at the gates – how many years were you looking at my toe-nails – how many, Paul … ?
Crap … !
All but five …
So what would you have said to you in all those other fifty-five years? Look at me, Paul.
How would you have shared your truth … would you start inside or outside the gates … would your telling have scared or encouraged … what words would you use … what imagery … what “logical” arguments … ?
How would you have taught you to rise up and look me in the eye without fear … ? You still carry fear of growing out of the bible. How would you have taught you not to when you still do?
And you have always put words into my mouth.
… ??? … ??? … ??? …
How can you not … how can any “not”?
Because what are we doing right now … and isn’t “this” all the bible ever can be … the bible you fear you have grown beyond?
You asked if the bible was me. Isn’t my question of you a better question:
“Is the bible you .. is it parts of you … the whole of you … or is the bible nothing of you at all?”
Maybe you are the bible … Maybe we are the bible … Maybe we’re not …
Because whatever your answer is (in this moment) …
🙂 … 🙂 … 🙂 … 🙂 … 🙂 … 🙂 …
Does … it … really … matter … at … all … ?
That was a particularly good one today!
As I was reflecting on this and on various previous blogs or conversations about the place the bible and all sorts of other things in have in our growing relationship with our God, I had an image, which helps me.
An image of …….. an infinitely big onion!
You see I don’t think that the various views we have are “right or wrong” “black or white” “in or out”: I think we are peeling back the layers of the onion. What we disgaurd is onion: what are left with is onion, though subtly different. This side of the hereafter I’m not going to get to the last layer, but all the time onion is ok for me at that point in time. It gives the necessary flavour to my life (and, as onions do, the tears as well)!
So what is the role of the church in all of this?
Just to encourage onion peeling.
End of thought ; before it mixes too many metaphors! Have a warming day. Blessings.
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I love onions! Even when they make me cry in the peeling – I love onions!! 🙂