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.

rev

23 comments:

gord said...

Jesus is the center of our faith. He is God. The Gospels are the climax of the Bible if you look at it as a book. However they are not the end. There is still several more chapters to go.

john jensen said...

and why was that necessary to say? The books that follow need to be read in the same way... through the lens of Jesus.

rev

gord said...

it was necessary as I was pointing out that the Bible doesn't end with the Gospels. There is much more that follows the Gospels that shows what Jesus wanted being lived out. The letters, etc of the apostles aren't just fluff to be looked at through some lens. they are examples of Christ's followers, men who actually walked with our Lord, living out what Jesus commanded.

Not at all disagreeing with much of what you say, just putting in a few cents is all.

Justin C said...

Good stuff

john jensen said...

in what way did I ever suggest that they were fluff? The bible is in its entirety the word of God, it is precious, and our singular authority. But it is how we interpret the bible, including the law, the prophets, psalms, epistles, apocalyptic writings even the gospels, that I am referring to.

I think you are reading your own bias against something into my post.

rev

Punk Johnny Cash said...

Rev, You said "The bible is in its entirety the word of God, it is precious, and our singular authority" Is that to say you believe the bible is infallible?

john jensen said...

define infallible :)

I do not believe it to be infallible in the way most fundamentalists do. I believe it is infallible in that it says what was meant to be said overall. It is infallible in its purpose, which is to reveal the Christ. I do not believe it is infallible in the sense that God "possessed" the writers and made every word literally perfect.

rev

Punk Johnny Cash said...

Would you say it is not inerrant? I have heard many scriptures used to claim inerrancy that I can not agree actually support that claim.

Just simple human err or even cultural constraints would naturally lend to err. Not to dismiss what you said, but to compliment.

Could it be inspired but not inerrant?

john jensen said...

yeah I like that, inspired, and surprisingly error resistant?

gord said...

i like that too.

Punk Johnny Cash said...

Even simple stuff like lineage shown for Joseph in Luke 3:23 and Mathew 1:16 shows there is some err.

Being these books were written not first hand, but after oral tradition is it unrealistic to think something inspired by God could have human err from time to time or translation to translation etc?

john jensen said...

well that brings up a perfect illustration. Matthew says 14 14 and 14 but not one of those lists is really 14, the first is but misses a bunch of people, the second is, but misses atleast two people, and the third is 13 and they miss atleast one person.

So was there errors? kinda

Matthew's writer did that on purpose, to use the number 14, which is the number equivelent of David, and Jesus being the son of David and heir to the throne of David the central focus.

So what was the purpose? and in that I suggest it was perfectly executed. What is the history, and details? it is errant

rev

Punk Johnny Cash said...

I have to say you've lost me. Was that some kind of numerology?

Could you explain what you just said?

john jensen said...

In Matthew's genealogy he says it was 14 generations from Abe to David, 14 from David to Babylonian captivity and 14 from then til Christ.

But none of those groupings are correct. They all leave out generations.

So they are wrong

But the purpose of Matthew was to teach things with the genealogy not give us history, and one of those teachings is that Jesus is the son of David, heir to David's throne. The number 14 is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew name David.

is that clearer?

rev

Punk Johnny Cash said...

Yes, it's clearer, but I have a difficult time swallowing that one.

It seems like 'bible code' to me.

john jensen said...

ok, the bible code is silliness, this is quite different

Why does Matthew point out the number 14 over and over and over? It has no special meaning in judaism like 12 6 or 7 yet Matthew makes a point of using this, though easily wrong, to group the generations. Why?

this is the reason, have heard nothing else that even comes close to making sense

rev

Final Anonymous said...

That's the only way Christianity makes sense to me... follow Jesus first. If there is a conflict between Jesus's words and Paul's words, Jesus wins.

I don't like a lot of Paul's teachings and frankly at this point I don't feel like spending a lot of time figuring them out. I am absolutely comfortable ignoring the parts I don't like. Maybe someday I'll get back to them, understand the context a bit more, find something meaningful in them, but right now, if they contradict Jesus's teachings or life, I feel fine calling BS. Especially the parts used by the church to marginalize people.

I get a lot of flak for this.

john jensen said...

It's not my chosen path but u will get no flack from me Jesus stands at the center of our faith. I believe Paul and Jesus match up better than we know things get lost in translation

Rev

gord said...

I agree with John. Jesus and Paul's words match up quite well. Paul is very blunt, but I find great comfort in his inspired words. After the Gospels, Romans is perhaps my favorite book. I feel that Paul interprets the Gospels in such a wonderful way that leads me to want to follow Christ in a more action oriented way, like this blog's author does.

I apologize for my earlier posts John. I was at work and should have read your posts more clearly. I find I agree with you most of the time, but maybe from a different angle.

laduke13 said...

Weren't a bunch of those letters writting Before the gospels?

David said...

Who says the Bible is right? Other people.

I've not heard God once say that He had anything to do with the Bible. Isn't that right, God?

john jensen said...

just spoke to God David, and God said, "David is a good talker, but his listening skills need a bit of work"

rev

David said...

Voices in your head might be more a sign of mental illness than God speaking to you, John.