So apart from being born as a human baby, keeping a very low profile for all my childhood, adolescence and young manhood … apart from three years as best we can establish … apart from the cross and dying and being buried and then rising again … apart from showing myself to a few select believers and pillars of the early church and then flitting off back up to heaven leaving the commandment to convert the whole world … apart from all that – what possible reason could I have had to leave heaven in the first place other than to be the ultimate sacrifice of sacrifices? Wiping the slate clear of the imagery of The Garden, the imagery of a week’s worth of creating followed by the shock and awe of finding I had been duped by a cunning snake-creation and a gullible perfect-she-creation? Give me one plausible alternative, Paul.
Expand please …
I have seen many pictures by famous artists, I have listened to many songs by famous singers. I have been absorbed by the creativity of nature and mankind – of science and the natural world – of technology and the random. But I am totally absorbed by the goodness in so many. The goodness expressed as kindness, as compassion, as humanity. I am constantly surprised by my own ability to be kind and hurtful. To be sensible and stupid. To be humane and inhumane. I am curious as to why kindness energises whereas anger exhausts. I am unconvinced it is as simple as sin or not sin. I am unconvinced I was born a sinner in need of saving. And I am unconvinced that “that” was the reason for you and this. I am not even sure there was a you and this a lot of the time.
So how can you tarry here – looking up at me on this cross – seeing agony in every fibre of my being – and yet doubt … ?
Why is that so odd … to hold opposing thoughts at the same time? I believe in many things I also question and doubt. I believe myself to be good at the same time as beating myself up for being a right eejit an hour or a year earlier. You could handle being perfect as God and imperfect as man all at once. You could get cross and frustrated with the dusty peeps at the same as you healed and nurtured them. Why is belief and doubt in the same train of thought considered odd?
Because you are taught to be certain. To be clear in your thinking. To reach a conclusion. To be strong in mind and body. Like me. Ever see me doubt … every see me confused … ever see me make a mistake … ? So if you follow me – what reason do you have not to be like me: no doubt, no fault, no weakness. Or as you now call it: a good Christian … a mature Christian … a disciple.
Are you for real with all this stuff?
Indeed I am. It is how I am portrayed in the bible is it not? And the bible is my word, my inspiration, my spirit at work, my breath breathed into The Word. How can you doubt when My Word comes with such pedigree and endorsement?
You aren’t for real with all this stuff at all – are you?
Do you stand there and accuse your Maker of duplicity? Have you stooped so low Paul that you doubt even my integrity? When was the last time you stooped in worship of me … the last time you confessed your sins in absolute contrition … the last time you prayed with your eyes shut … the last time you attended church … the last time you broke bread … ? You are not even baptised … simply sprinkled as a unknowing infant … Do you think everything one big joke that justifies your laughter and questions?
You are SO NOT for real right now – even up there nailed to a tree – you still meet me where I am.
If you are right – and I am not saying you are – then as I struggle for breath right now … perhaps we are moving closer to the reason for this conversation …
to be continued …