Doing what I am now, dissecting the Christian Bible, is involving a lot of heart-searching and serious consideration because I am not a sceptic about God, nor do I want to tear down the structures that support people in their beliefs, when it helps them to feel loved, safe and happy. But I have yet to meet a ‘good’ Christian who feels completely that way (who isn’t simply ignoring what they don’t want to see in the book, without wanting to shred my viewpoint), who doesn’t have some doubts, or questions, or confusion, over something they have found therein. I know when I first started to question, a suggestion (being polite here) was made that I not return to Sunday school. I was nine at the time, and a quiet child. I spent years looking for a minister, or priest, who would sit down and have a few conversations with me, and couldn’t, until I was 29; and I bless the ground that man walks upon. He really helped, mostly because he had the courage enough to say ‘I don’t know’, instead ‘you have to believe ‘anyway”. ‘Trust in God and all will be explained’. Right. I’m still waiting. Does the explanation come after I am dead? Oh no, the ‘questions, and doubts, will more than likely condemn me to hell’.
Believe me, I’ve had all those answers, and more.
So yesterday I took myself for a walk. There was a great deal of emotion caught up in my chest, and I wanted to find a fresh perspective by talking to God in some privacy, and we have a lovely orchard here, awash with spring apple blossoms (and their bees), and so the dog and I strolled with my camera, and we caught some pictures to share. One of the fun things that happens with a new camera (that I am still attempting to understand) is that sometimes it will shoot a message at me unexpectedly, ‘Blink Detected’, right across the viewfinder. Let me show you the photo.
At the time I was asking the usual questions – why me? why now? The now question would be for more of a laugh, because I’ve been avoiding doing this for years, long before I ever started my Theology course. The answer, however, was unavoidable – ‘because this is what I want you to do’. So I did what I do when someone tells me something I find hard to believe … my eyes grow wider, and my mind grows quieter, and when the person has finished speaking – whomever it might be – I …. blink*!
So there was me in the middle of taking a photo of an apple blossom, while talking to God about rewriting ‘his’ book in a grumbly fashion .. and the camera said ‘BLINK DETECTED’ .. and I laughed! Damn right I blinked.
It’s not as though that message hasn’t been around me since before 1999, and I ‘know’ it doesn’t actually mean ‘rewriting’, enough of that has been done already, in my opinion, but .. we are all reinterpreting the Bible every time we open it and do not accept what we read, or give it a bit of a twist to more fit in with what we want it to say, or in the same way ignore something, some small part, that is written there? And I can play that game with the best of them, and sometimes do, if I am particularly irritated, but – I know I shouldn’t, and I know when I am deliberately mucking about, and there’s no room for that in a serious study (well, maybe just a little?) .. and this has to be a serious study .. because that is what is expected of me. And the pressure in my chest eased up straight away, and my heart felt like it opened up, and my eyes filled with tears, as they usually do when I know God loves me.
You see, I agree with the fundamentalists when I say we must take the book literally as written, how else can we find the confusion and discuss it? But I mean the original book .. or books .. from the Hebrew and the Greek, which is why I love my NOAB and Interlinear so much, it gives me somewhere to start from. And then there’s the Lexicon, and the internet, which is a great way to quickly start researching a topic. 🙂 When we compare them with the many versions of the Bible today (and I have thirteen of various ‘english’ translations’ we might just be able to sort the wheat from the chaff.
And maybe I’ll do a lot of blinking as I go along, but that’s ok. I know I have a lot to learn. 🙂
Love & Peace