Tuesday, August 16, 2011
My God!!! READ YOUR BIBLE!!!
Funny how often I get that. I also get, IT SAYS WHAT IT SAYS AND MEANS WHAT IT SAYS!!! One more that I get thrown at me is, OH SO YOU JUST PICK AND CHOOSE WHAT SCRIPTURES YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO?
Look, its really simple: I did not come to the beliefs I have come to because I want to be cool. I did not come to the beliefs I have come to because of my political leanings. I did not come to my belief system because I want to make other people like me. I believe what I believe because I read the bible, I try to read it in its context, and I try to make sense of the scriptures together as a complete meta-narrative.
What I am not doing is taking a template of a subverted church, married to nationalism and consumerism and placing it over the scripture. I read my bible, I let it mean what it actually means, and say what it actually says. And when I have to pick and choose, I do so based upon what I believe is a more Christ centered logic.
Let's take a look at one situation. Christ says over and over not to store up wealth and that the poor are blessed. But we have some conflicting scriptures, mostly in the old testament, that say wealth is a blessing of God. So, where do we go? No matter what, we will be picking and choosing, but what is your fulcrum when making that decision.
In my opinion, the typical evangelical response is, the bible is the fulcrum. So we look at the entirety of the bible. And since the bible throughout its history says wealth is a blessing from God, it must be a blessing from God. Therefore Jesus must have meant spiritual poverty was a blessing, and as long as we were humble, and didn't love money more than God we can have as much of it as we want, and be a bit generous. But using the bible as fulcrum does two things:
1 it allows you to pretty much take whatever you want from wherever you want and make that your focus. Which enables you to bend Jesus teachings into whatever you want, usually going along with what makes life good for yourself, or follows the current culture. In today's culture, the culture of meritocracy and consumerism, we get, don't love your money, but get as much as you can.
2. and most disturbing, is it makes and idol of the bible, in placing it above God Our fulcrum cannot be an often misunderstood, and ancient manuscript meant for the purpose of revealing God, when we can have God himself as fulcrum
Which leads me to my way of reading scripture. I start with Christ. What did Christ teach? How did Christ live? How is Christs death and resurrection effecting and effected by this? I start there, and then move out. If Christ said poverty was a blessing, and lived in a extremely simple way, not even having a coin when one was needed... then he meant what he said. So then I look at the scriptures in the old testament... what were these "blessings" used for? often times selfish crap, like a big six bedroom palace in a gated community in the burbs. And what happens with these characters? well one cheats on his wife with another mans wife and then kills her husband when she gets pregnant, his own family falls apart, his son rapes his daughter, his other son kills him and then tries to kill his father. His next son takes a thousand wives and winds up sacrificing to other gods on altars in the high places. Not a pretty picture.
Start with Jesus, and read your bible with Jesus as the center. Because he said, "you wanna know what God is like? God is like me.