As one who is living through “brexit”, I have been surprised how little has changed. People are still following their own agendas – but that is politics as I know politics. And the price of yeast extract (that I love on my toast) has indeed risen a penny or two. And we may have inflation to come. But I remember inflation in double figures. We all blamed the government of the day back then. And we voted them out as soon as we were allowed – only to find that the “other lot” were no different. Not really. So I look at the “Trump and Clinton hysteria” in the same way – right now it is an immediate emotional reaction (and we did that too, the morning after brexit)
Anyway … bibles open and off we go again … !
How would you “prepare”, “educate”, “teach”, “enable to feel safe” your own child for something they were not able to comprehend? How would you love your child and yet place a word or a thought in their minds that was necessary – that they may not “get” right then – but that allowed them to still feel safe – to still feel loved unconditionally?
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Then he said to the disciples,
“The days are coming when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there!’ or ‘Look here!’ Do not go, do not set off in pursuit. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation.” Luke 17:20-25
The more I read the bible with my “new deconstructed bible eye” – the more I see a masterclass in love without condition in EVERY verse. The less I care for the precision of historical accuracy, the perfection of speech transcripts, the “agenda” of others … the more I read a deconstructed bible – the more I am able to read the Living Bible – hear The Word of God – today – right now – in my context – my time – MY place.
So a question like “When are you coming back Father?” is already answered: Paul you are kingdom. You are indwelt. You are infused with kingdom right now as you type these words. That – for me – IS my living faith!
And a “speech” like the one above is simply another lesson in love: Jesus speaks to the Pharisees – “us”, and then turns to His disciples – also “us”. And for those who desire precision – there is His first speech: “Figure it out, you have your answer – here it is.” And for those who desire relationship – there is His second speech: “Do not fear, I am with you always – even when it will seem that I am not.”
“Defended Bible” Question after question after question – debate after debate after debate – acrimony and acrimony and more acrimony. THAT is divisive – that is conditional love.
“Deconstructed Bible” Love and love and more love without condition – love spoken to me in my place and my time – in your time and your place. THAT is respectful – that is unconditional loving.
My time and my place is now. It can only ever be “now”. Just as the bible was written for those in their own “now” (over their centuries and centuries). So I can EITHER use the bible to continue my divisive tension between “historical accuracy” and “historical inaccuracy”. And I can continue to only use the bible as “the scientific encyclopaedia of religion” … and I will snap. Because at some point my “faith” WILL snap – and I will blame someone or something, OR …
I can play with the bible … I can deconstruct the bible … I can view the bible as “their” time and “their” place … I can shed the tension between “science” and “faith” … I can shed having to defend the bible as an accurate historical document … I can shed having to sweep all the messy bits under the carpet … and I can be free to love and be loved.
Because I have found something really exciting in all of this …
I can actually see love without condition – unconditional love – as mine right now. I can really see that it always has been. I really believe that it was what I was born for. That is kingdom. That is heaven. And that is not just “attainable” (today or at some point when I am “good enough”), but that is freely available RIGHT NOW (and always has been).
It’s just I was taught that “it” wasn’t. I was taught we had to “earn it”. I was taught that when I was saved – all of that was stored up as treasure in heaven – to be collected after I died. And it keeps getting weirder …
This invitation to “die to self” … to be “reborn” … to allow God Soft Hands Jesus to indwell in every cell of my being and consciousness …
I was taught that meant dying to all the “secular stuff” … “of this world stuff” … all this “them” stuff – the drugs, rock and roll and casual sex “stuff”. THAT is how I was taught I must “die to self” and be reborn without it all weighing me down anymore. But you want to know something massively “deconstructing” … ?
I have never heard “dying to self” taught as shedding all this religious Christian tradition (that is also “of this world”). All this “don’t rock the boat you must believe in this and that and you must do things this way and not that way” … all this manmade “of this world religious stuff”. And today – with a deconstructed eye – I wonder why. I wonder why we even think we “have it right” with our “Christian Tradition” of God, bible and church.
Bear with me here …
Didn’t the Pharisees think tradition? Didn’t the Sadducees think tradition? Didn’t the scribes and lawyers think the same? And today – don’t we read our bibles and see “them” … don’t we sneer (lovingly) and wonder how they could have missed “it”? Don’t we chuckle and ask ourselves – it’s so bleeding obvious – they were right religious thickos! Because there was Jesus actually walking amongst them – the Messiah they prayed for and hoped for … and there He is … here He is … and “they” never even knew! And worse than that, “they” strung him up and banged nails into Him! How very dare they!
Do we EVER choose to “die to self” (as in of this world “Religious Bible Church Christian tradition”)? Because wasn’t THAT exactly what Jesus asked the Pharisees to do? To die to all their religious tradition that was of this world – that was keeping them from kingdom … ?
I was never taught “that”. And I never hear “that” (unless applied to all the legalistic religious nuts who actually believe they are “Christians” … really???)
I am taught that we say the right words and we are saved! THAT is “our” Christian tradition today (and all that is left – fall into line and all the “church stuff” that us saved souls have to do). And today I wonder why. Today I see not a minority of Pharisees as I have been taught to see. Today I feel a lot like Jesus must have felt – the whole place is crawling with Pharisees! Everywhere you look! Under every rock and in every crevice! Pharisees everywhere!
Which is beginning to address a question I have kept to myself for a long time now …
Why do so few Christians (admit to) hear(ing) the voice of God? Like as in conversations. Like as in real relationship. Like as we would expect – demand – of someone real.
Because I have been told statistics … I have been told percentage points for those who are “gifted that way”- the privileged few who will ever chat away with God in “real words”. And I have never been satisfied with that thinking. But today – with all this “shedding” … THAT explanation begins to sound more and more like “of this world religious science”. And now (with a deconstructed bible , a deconstructed eye, and a deconstructed God) none of that “religious science” makes any sense to me anymore.
Ponder time again. Please add your own thoughts below. Back here tomorrow as usual. Thank you.