There have been some conversations under these series of posts. Fellowship in writing. Thought prompters. Connectors with God and each other.
My God Soft Hands Jesus has invited me to write a series of posts before. Back in the “good old days” it seemed that He and I were wandering together through a “fairground of life”. We were looking into each stall and ride together. We were sitting on the damp bouncy grass. We were pondering this bit and that bit – hearing the sounds – smelling the smells – watching the business of life – enjoying the fun of the fair – together. It was safe.
And then this series of deconstructing the bible (as it seems to me).
Not quite so safe. Not any fun of the fair at all. More like opening cupboard doors that need a good oiling. They all squeak. They all resist. As though they have petrified through being locked all this time. This series feels like heavy lifting. And for a long time now I have let GSHJ do the heavy lifting.
He does it so much better than me. I get it to see what is under each stone. I get to play with the bits that come to light. I have fun.
So why is this series “not the same”?
And finally – through the comments and conversations made by others under these posts – my God was finally able to reach me again. He was finally able to make Himself heard (by me). It was the sound of His laughter that did it. God Soft Hands Jesus laughing at a comment I wrote – a kind of “Woe is me with all this heavy lifting for God” – that kind of comment. The burden and duty – the carrying this heavy cross – kind of comment. His laughter is a delight (and a downer) in moments like that. But always grounding.
Because there is never any malice, never any judgement in His laughter. Just delight and fun. Simply delight of a joke shared – and the fun of an insight “sighted”. And because when I hear the sound of my GSHJ’s laughter (and I do – more often that I would like!) … THAT reconnects me … THAT is safe … THAT is love without condition.
So this pausing and reflecting is for my benefit. To discover (for the first time) that “deconstructing the bible” is safe – is fun – and is a delight (if I allow).
So in that vein, He then prompted a dusty memory (squeakkkkk ….)
I attended a Hindu gathering some time ago. The whole thing was in a language I did not speak. The language was of their forefathers in another country. Their place of birth (or at least – for the younger ones there – their forefather’s place of birth). That country was the place they still regard as “home”. And in this gathering there were certain customs, certain ways of worship, a lot of do’s and don’ts. And it seemed to be that attendance was compulsory. Attendance meant you “belonged” and were restating your belonging (and also carried its own “tithe” of a monetary gift).
Money in this “community” is a big deal. This community had a bank balance other “communities” would lust over. They use it for both their local and global community – all with the same disagreements over “need and spending” as in any “community”.
All of that was surprisingly familiar – even without any comprehension as to what was being said (which is also familiar in my own “communities” so often). So my memories are less of differences – and more of all normal and familiar stuff. My surprising memories were of how they treated their “sacred book” – their version of our “bible”.
It was under presented under a small tent when I arrived. It was swaddled in wrappings. And it was constantly fanned to keep the flies off (inside a big hall on a wet and cold dark evening?). It was unwrapped with great ceremony to be read from – and turned out to be an enormous book! Not something you could carry around with you – not at all! And after being read from – it was rewrapped and coddled again. The fly-swatter back with his fly-swatting thing. And then at the end of the gathering it was even more perfectly swaddled and even more perfectly wrapped. And was then held aloft and ceremoniously paraded out.
(I am guessing – to whatever holy storage box they had for it out back)
The oddest thing of all in these memories … ?
I did not see “them” in the way they treated their sacred book. I saw “us” and how we treat our bible. I saw the same rituals – just less “showy”. I saw the same reverence – just more showy. I saw the same “look but do not touch”. I saw the same bible. And I saw the same God.
And – just like us – they are great people! Just like us they looked bored and connected during the gathering. They both shared and kept to themselves. Like us some spoke and many didn’t. In short – “they” did all the same things “we do” – even down to the bible bit – even down to the God bit. And these are Hindus. Not “proper believers” at all. “We” have that title. “Our” God is the Top God! “Theirs” is just make-believe.
And I am confident that this experience could have been any faith – and any “no faith”. I use this example simply as an example.
Another example of similarity rather than difference. Another example of how NOT deconstructing the bible keeps us from the very God we come to worship. Keeps Him in our own “holy storage box” somewhere out of sight. Until “we” bring Him out – swat the flies off Him – read a few verses in a reverent voice – ponder and pray awhile – and then tuck Him back up again for next time.
We have the “Top God” … we have the One and Only God … we are believers and they are not … we have God and they only have tarnished idols of clay?
Really … ?
So thank you for all your comments. Please add many more! Please!
And – before we all relax too much – it will be “back to work” with another chapter tomorrow! So let’s see you all here bright and early, please!
Thank you 🙂