(adapted from a conversation over at Church Set Free … )
Someone once invited me into a rose garden. And then showed me a single rose. And then a single flower. And then a single petal. And then suggested I slowly walk around that single rose flower petal – seeing it from every angle and every direction – noticing how the changing light changed the colours and shading – becoming aware of how the details blossomed – of how the “rose” became more than a “rose” as I became more than a passing passer-by.
That is what I mean when I say we shouldn’t need the bible to be static and unchanging (even though it is) because we aren’t static and unchanging. We are in that “rose garden” simply by being alive – as our focus and beliefs change – as we simply live each year month day moment – as our beliefs
should do change as we live – as we should do experience new things, new people, new “stuff”. And what we “allow” in our living is our choice – our “allowing”.
And if I don’t then perhaps it is because I need “static and unchanging”. Except nothing that is alive is static and unchanging.
Because “meeting each where they are” (which is how I like to be met – how we all like to be met?) – requires an open mind and an allowing of change. Just like “meeting” the bible – just like the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – that too (like the bible) changes for me as I change.
I wrote this three years ago: “I wish God spoke to me” … and some of the references in that post go back another three years. And that post describes loads of stuff I was never taught in church … God Soft Hands Jesus rocking up as Batman … a clanking loom chugging out words and sensations … plain spoken conversations and “transcripts”…
Whereas now (at this point in my living) it is more of a holistic sensation – that miniscule glance – that intuiting a fractional eyebrow – that tightness of the stomach – that instant “knowing” …
And yet nothing has changed – other than me.
Which is why I am increasingly uncomfortable with absolutes (other than love without condition).
Absolutes of only binary choice – of correctness (or not) – of being right (or wrong) – of a scriptural certainty (or false teaching) – of beliefs (now made facts) – of faith (now its own evidence) – and all preached time (and time again) …
Of there being “one way” (and only one way) … Of having to agree with the unspoken (and spoken) “rules” to be accepted – to fit in – to be “one of us” … To be the “all are welcome” correctness of a binary choice …
More and more I wonder if that is of fear.
Fear of being wrong(?). Fear of not being in control(?). Fear of being guided to do something I don’t want to do(?). Fear of “being” something I don’t want to be(?). Or of being seen to be a fraud – of being not good enough – or not brave enough – of not giving enough – or not “maturing” enough … Of being judged by
God my peers and found wanting by God my peers(?).
Or the alternative …
Just like a gardener who allows. Who embraces and allows the soil, embraces and allows the climate, embraces and allows the seasons, embraces and allows the seedlings, allows the bugs and birds – embraces AND allows “the whole” to be – all these big and small details of the whole – details that must keep changing in order to become – to be – who they all are – how they all fit – how they are all connected. How even death is part of living and living part of dying. How love without condition makes the allowing of all of that a warm embrace
Perhaps that comes closest to how I now see this faith and belief thing.
Because – when all is said and done – belief is belief.
And what I believe changes.