Messing with the bible (again)


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For the next five days we have the honour and joy of Oliver living with us whilst mum and dad are away.  There have been lots of conversations about his routine – sleeping, feeding, bowels, medicine, clothes, who to call if, where to go if, what to do if … But to replicate all of that would take thousands of words (and be irrelevant to anyone other than us two grandparents – who are very excited about having this wee chap live with us for a week).

Which is why those conversations/lists are summed up in the short paragraph above.

“When the crowds were increasing, Jesus began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!”” Luke 11:29-32

This morning it finally hit me – this place he and I are right now.

He and I are making sense of the bible when the bible becomes NOT inerrant and infallible … NOT sacred … and NOT “The Word of God” (that must NOT be messed with).

Because each time I write a post that is NOT preaching and teaching all that “taught stuff”, I feel as though I’m attacking the bible AND Christians AND faith AND “God” (as taught).   And that bugs me.

What it is about “that” teaching which means deviation is an attack?

I keep being told that “church” is much more open/accepting than I remember. That if I returned to “church” I would find my home again. Yet my ,very recent memories, are of being told “You just have to find the right church, Paul.”  As though scouring the country or continent or globe for a few like-minded people is my next (obvious) course of action.

So the absence of a locally available like-minded church is a confusion.

If church is really so open and accepting – why the absence?  Why the required “training” (and passing of exams) before “acceptance” as a (volunteer or paid) preacher?  Why – if this is all about love – is going “beyond the bible” and deeper into Love seen as a threat?

I read my bible and see Jesus “going beyond the bible” (of his time), treating it not as inerrant and infallible, messing with the bible (of his time).

These verses today – all four of them – are as summarised as our “grandson lists-conversations” … they are just like these biblical conversations 2000+ years ago …  they are fragments of “living and loving” … just as this (grandson) fragment:

“Infacol with every feed during the day if you remember, no biggie if you don’t.”

If you know what “infacol” is you might be “filling in blanks” … if you don’t it might make no sense at all and you go and google (or not) …  and is this a commandment or advice … and why is it mentioned if it’s “no biggie if (we) don’t” … and what about night-time – it says nothing about night-time … and what are the other lists not written down here – what do they all say …   ?

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But …

Would it help if I said it feels like Christmas Eve for me … that I couldn’t sleep last night because I was so excited … that the lists are just “details” – that the main event can’t be written “factually and objectively” because “the main event” is not about that – the main event is these few days (that begin in about one hour from now) – still dark and cold … of a young child loved (whatever the mood when he arrives) – of a mum and dad nervous about leaving him (for the first time) – and that living and loving (in every moment and second) is “the main event.”

Because … “that” for me is also the bible.

And if this style of making sense of the bible is viewed as attacking the bible … and needs me to search for like-minded people I can fellowship with …

Then I am beginning to wonder whether we “get it” at all.

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