I had “Chapter Ten” all put to bed last night. Save myself a bit of time this morning. Busy day today. And then He went and got in the way again! He showed me a different Part Ten. One that is right for today. If I was “studying” the bible I would get a little hacked off with that – all that “work” I did yesterday – all that (MY) time!
And as I write that I am reminded (He ever do this to you?) of all the times he went “God O’Clock” on me. When “that to-do list” was way longer than the time I had available to do it all – and it wasn’t going to happen. And then “HE” came and interrupted – and asked me to do something else. More God stuff! And I was fuming. And I told Him there and then: “You make all this to-do-list happen then – I can’t!” (you ever do that to Him?). And He did. He always does – and with time to spare. My very own “two fishes and five loaves” – TODAY – in MY time and MY place.
How will I make time enough for all of this God? “Bring me your two minutes and five seconds, Paul – and let’s boogy!”
So is yesterday’s “work” wasted? Only if I set the terms of what has value and what has not …
And how often do we each do that with “our” God?
Back to “what if…” again. The only sure thing about all belief is “What If?”
What if … I believe there is NO god. What if … I believe there IS god. What if … I knew how to work this dvd player. What if … I understood women. What if … I believed I didn’t understand men. What if … I believed I am a really great cook. What if … I believed I was unconditional love. What if … I believed the bible could be deconstructed.
And then – what about this …
What if … whatever I believed I looked at you and saw me as well as you. What if … I believed that my beliefs were just “that”: MY preferred and personal choice of wardrobe to live in our world of beliefs …
Wouldn’t you and I be the same? Wouldn’t we both have chosen our wardrobes as we choose our clothes? Some are passed down. Some are brand new. Some were a real bargain! And some are so comfortable they never get chucked out (just not worn in public – we have our “image” to worry about as well as our comfort). And doesn’t THAT make us the same in … “everything”?
So what if … you played with a deconstructed bible … (you don’t have to … you don’t “must buy it” … we are just clothes shopping here … trying stuff on … walking in and out of shops … just having fun (you remember what “fun” is?)
So what if the verses below are our new deconstructed bible …
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them.
Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed all of them —it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
On that day, anyone on the housetop who has belongings in the house must not come down to take them away; and likewise anyone in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it.
I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding meal together; one will be taken and the other left.’
Then they asked him, ‘Where, Lord?’
He said to them, ‘Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.’
Well as we are no longer worrying about the historical accuracy of Noah. We can “what if” that as being “worked” into a constructed history. That “pinged” the constructed history of Moses exiting Egypt. The parting of the waters. The closing of the water on the (other) warrior army behind.
And then to Lot and Sodom. Another “working” … another “what if “ … And then the linkage with the question of THEIR today (not our today): “When and where Lord?”
This warrior nation of the Chosen People. Still a warrior nation.
Not our nation. Not our time. Not our country.
And there the deconstructed bible of their time stops. And we step in. What if we step in and just listen. Listen to the same God who meets US in our time and our place. With OUR past (also constructed to suit our present).
Paul, how very dare you … !
Isn’t “It’s not fair” the biggest construction of our own past to influence our own present? Or what about “You always mess up!” What about “I would never do that.” Or “I could never do that” … “I couldn’t possibly do that” … “I can’t do this on my own” … “Why does everyone always pick on me” … “I can’t believe in a God who kills people” …
And we do that to our future as well: “I could never love unconditionally” … “What difference can I make –there is only one of me” … “If I lived to be a hundred I will never … “ And then this …
“Prove to me that … “
And WE insist on changing each other’s present and past and future as well as our own! Yet we insist on using the bible as factually and historically accurate … we insist of “proving to them” the inerrancy of the bible …
So what if … These verses are not the voice of God that I need to hear today? What if these verses are not speaking to me today? What would that mean to my faith today? What would I learn then … and wouldn’t this all have been a small waste of MY time … ? Maybe …
Or maybe this …
That it’s not all about you (or me) all the time. That these verses WILL speak to another today – in their time – in their place. They will hear the voice of God in these verses because these verses will speak to them even though they don’t speak to me (or you). Maybe this is us learning that “God is not all about me”. Because maybe WE need to learn that God is all about ALL of us ALL the time.
Could you handle THAT? The “maybe” that God uses these verses to NOT speak to you in the way you think He should? Would you still hear the voice of God when the words “make no sense” as you expect them to “make sense”? Just like my “learning” at the top of this page? Because what if …
It is not just the bible we abuse with our “inerrant and infallible”. What if … we abuse our very relationship with the very God to whom we have “given our lives”? What if we have also been taught to put all of OUR pre-conditions into the only way of a “real” relationship with God …? Isn’t that just a little “This IS all about me!” … ?
Because just how is that “talking” with God? Where is the voice of God that we WILL disallow? Where is the connection HE may wish for us? And just how can we RESPOND if we are only prepared to hear what we expect to hear- when we expect to hear it – and how we expect to hear … the “voice of God”?
What if … the constructed bible we are all taught as inerrant and infallible IS the biggest obstacle to me and you hearing the voice of God in the bible. What if … we are also taught to run our relationship with God (as we so often accuse Him of running it with us)? The very Lord we “serve and obey” … this very God we “worship and praise” … this very God who has saved us – because we told Him to – and we told Him how – and we told Him what was to follow – and we told Him how He was to speak to us – we told Him what we would hear – and what we would not … That kind of obstacle.
And … what if we were each able to peel back some of that … ?
What might lie beyond for me and you … ?
This “Part Ten” was not the one I would have chosen yesterday. Does that mean I AM hearing the voice of God – or that I am NOT hearing the voice of God … ?
Weekend off (maybe) …