Unconditional Love – (VIII)

I hope you enjoyed your time off.  It struck me as a “coincidence” yesterday that after “seven chapters” this series “rested”.  I wouldn’t claim that was God at work – good heavens no!   But as it was not a conscious choice to reflect after “seven” – I think I might have heard good old God Soft Hands Jesus roaring with laughter again! 

Okay – here we go … again …   

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In my journey as a Christian there a few roadblocks in the bible.  All because “we read the bible as a script for a play. A script we dare not change.”  We are taught not to change the bible.  We are taught that is bad teaching.  Just as I was taught the true God – just as “I knew the God everyone told me about.”

Just as when I was taught to drive I accepted what I was told.  Speed limits.  Traffic lights.  Solid white lines.  Overtaking.  Not overtaking.  Braking slowly.  Emergency braking.  One instruction after another. All accepted as the only way to drive.  All reinforced and practiced time and time again:  “This is how you pass your test – if you want to pass your test THIS is the only way.  So stop asking questions and just do what I say – and you will soon be zipping around on your own – no longer a learner driver!  Isn’t THAT more important than “asking questions”?”

Or exams at school and university.  Or job interviews and workplace assessments.  Or books about childcare and how to bring up the perfect child.  Or relationships.  Or finding yourself.  Or being at one with nature.  Or the meaning of life.  Always:  “THIS is how … isn’t THAT more important than …?”

I think the Chosen People were no different.  They asked questions.  They kicked back.  Time after time they kicked back.  We all do.  And in the bible they were told (time and time again):  “THIS is how it has to be – THIS is the BIG GOD – there is the BIG Promised Land – isn’t THAT more important than a little hardship here, a little famine there, a few rules here, a few laws there .. ?”

I think the Chosen People needed to find themselves.  And they did so in a time(s) and place(s) very different to our own.  And they did so with a bible very different to our own.  When invasion and genocide was the way to win – the way to remain focused – the way to show the others you were not to be messed with.

Just as today when “our country” went/goes to war the first thing we all do is to pray to “our” BIG GOD to be on our side and to help us to wipe out our enemies – to keep our boys safe – and to smite theirs.   It’s how we do things today.  To not pray would be weird – would mean we don’t even believe in our God – which means we don’t want to keep our boys (and girls) safe – and we don’t care about our country being over-run by “them”.

Not praying to “our God” is a massive statement.  Because what if there is a God … what if “they” pray and we don’t … what if “they” wipe us out …?  All because we didn’t pray … ?

Look at how we view this “war on terror” right now?  Don’t we have our BIG GOD and they don’t?  But what if our BIG GOD gave up on us because we didn’t pray to Him?  And what if their little god didn’t because they still were praying?  What then?

And what do we do to earn our BIG GOD’s protection and intervention? We have BIG services and BIG prayers and BIG worships as we ask our boys (and girls) to smite our enemies and drive our enemies from their (promised) lands so we can be safe in our (promised) lands.

I wonder … is there really an Old Testament God we cannot believe in … the One who smites His enemies … ?

And – just as we pray for God to keep our boys (and girls) safe (as we wave them into battle) – is it not for similar reasons that the Chosen People splashed so much sacrificial blood around?   It was simply how you kept your God(s) happy and on your side back in THEIR day.  So if – today – the norm was a sacrifice industry (rather than a tithing industry), a blood-letting industry (rather than a volunteering industry), an appeasing industry (rather than an intercession industry) … Would we really turn our noses up at a bit of sacrificial blood-letting?

Because don’t we still “sacrifice” gay and lesbian souls on our altars of worship (because the bible says so).  Don’t we still sacrifice failed humanity – all those depressed, divorced, suicidal, all those (who are so selfish they actually won’t let God make them “happy”) so “damaged” (so they say!)  that they blame God?  Don’t we still see today all those so hurting only to be told:  “We don’t do that here – the bible says … “ (and the “loving” checklist comes out with our practiced biblical “love”).

So just why is that we poo-poo the Old Testament” and THEIR God but never see the “emotional blood sacrifices” that WE still continue today?  Why is it that WE shrug and say “It’s just how things are. It’s what the bible says. It’s all to do with original sin and being saved. It’s how we do things here. And if you want to be saved isn’t THAT more important than all your questions … ?”  How loving and NEW God is that?

And then moving beyond even that thought …

What if all that genocide never really happened at all?  What if all that marching to war and wiping out whole nations never really happened either?  What if all that blood and sacrifice was “the norm” back in the day – the ONLY way the Chosen People could get THEIR heads around any BIG GOD back in THEIR day?  What if the bible (and bible writers) were simply “bigging-up” the Chosen People – keeping them on-message – keeping them focused on actually being the Chosen People (and using the bible to do that)?

Which brings us smack-bang-back to how we read our bible today as the official Godly inerrant infallible Christian minutes” of how it was – and how it must be today.

Because what if writing “history” was not writing “history” at all (not as we know expect and demand our history)?  What if the biblical (inerrant and infallible) “history” was never history (as we know and expect it) but always writing which changed THEIR present by changing THEIR past?  How would the bible look then … and would YOUR faith stand that kind of mental shift … ?

Because – here is a real kicker …

What if THEIR New Testament (and now ours) was the same way of “writing” history?  What if their New Testament was simply to change THEIR present by changing THEIR Old Testament history back in THEIR day – the post-Jesus days (which are now our days and our present)?  But which are NOT our present and NEITHER our past – not as “history”.

Would we even think of insisting that “our” bible is inerrant and infallible in “our” lives and “our” living today?  Would we have any grounds for kicking the shit out of each other with academic theology and dogma about “but the bible says this and the bible says that”?  Not in the way we still do today.

And … how can I even write this stuff and even call myself a Christian?

Isn’t this what we have all been warned about – taught to look for?  To look for “false teaching” – to reject false teaching – to give such “Christians” a wide berth – because they are not really Christians at all.  They are the devil in disguise.  The bible says so.  Our minister says so.  We have all been taught this is “so” – and so we all say so!

Is it just me, or is there a pattern emerging here … ?  Through the “Old” bible … through the “New” bible … right through to today … ?

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Okay – I know most of the world is caught up in the much more important matter of who becomes the next President of the United States of America … so … see you back here tomorrow.  Thank you 

13 thoughts on “Unconditional Love – (VIII)

  1. Bravo – you have it, the exegeses needs refining but that is just the way it was, the OT was very much a Socio historical document of a people and their local deity, even though YHWH time and time again declared himself to be God of the universe it was only of their little universe they heard. Blood sacrifice for the propitiation of sins was their way of doing it – blood for blood and rewritten by the Priests as commands from God. Prophets were nothing more than political correspondents warning the people of wise and unwise choices and outcomes.

    Yes, God spoke through his prophets, wonderful words that the ‘Chosen’ heeded not and the social Correspondence of Isaiah and Jeremiah came to fruition.

    The Scriptures were not written for us, neither Old nor New – they did not know that we would exist.

    When we arrived rather late in time we made it a habit to Christianise the OT according to our preferred beliefs.

    They can be a minefield without the discernment of the holy SPirit and a life dedicated to prayer to seek fresh honest hearts with which ti view the logos of God

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    • Hello Father Casper – I take that as a compliment: “the exegeses needs refining”! Too refined is too smooth – too “neat” (maybe). There is a strap-line we share on this blog: “Love is the answer – now what’s your question”

      Seems to me (having been reminded that “love is not enough – we need rules” … on a very regular basis) that – perhaps – the bible was written for us. Unknowingly. Illogically. Because it seems to me that love without condition is the easiest phrase to parrot – but the trickiest reality to grasp and keep grasping. Yet it is a great prize. Perhaps the greatest. Perhaps the closest to God Soft Hands Jesus. And we keep making bad choices. We keep choosing rules over love. We seem to think we can only “be” unconditional love after we die.

      More and more I see those who have never heard of being a Good Christian, would never dream of being a Good Christian – who find all this “faith stuff” (expressed as religion) a hindrance. And some of those (in my view) without ever having a bible/koran/holy writings in their hands are closer to God than many who love the bible.

      I wonder if the bible is a cross to bear. Either light as feather – or the heaviest burden we ever held. Our God has a marvellous sense of humour! Do we seek spiritual botox for worry lines that age us – or celebrate the living and loving our laughter lines proclaim?

      Liked by 1 person

      • From all of this I have to agree that God’s sense of humour is outrageous and we couldn’t live without it. I didn’t have a question it seemed to me that you judged rightly regarding the misunderstood aspects of Scripture. If we do forget that love is His way they will always remain so.

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  2. “Would we have any grounds for kicking the shit out of each other with academic theology and dogma about ‘but the bible says this and the bible says that’?”

    Oh, and how we cling to that, don’t we?

    Careful, Paul, you are walking that line…and being in danger of being called a heretic, you know.

    But then, isn’t that why the first century religious leaders threatened to stone and kill Jesus – because they regarded him a heretic? Apparently you are on solid ground after all!

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    • Susan, this little meander is – yet again – another mini-rollercoaster. “That book” will make another appearance. Just not yet. The connections and flashes of light along the way are too much fun to put to one side just yet.

      Yet I have a great sense of calm and peace. That the bible is no longer – and can never again be – a burden. A verse-off now almost irrelevant – missing the point – and missing God! Defending the indefensible no longer part of the jobspec. How liberating is that! THAT is freedom. That is kingdom and that is truly “all are welcome”.

      I have no idea which way is up right now – and it matters not one bit! 🙂

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