Blink Detected

Blink!

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.

I didn’t know apple blossoms could blink?

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

Love & Peace
Ama

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Law – has heaven and earth passed away

Ok, now here’s a curious thought. The foundation of the Faith, Judaism, states that all Jewish people had certain laws they had to follow. It’s a long list, including laws on what could and couldn’t be eaten. Those laws transferred themselves (well, not literally, but you know what I mean) into the Old Testament (OT), and from that foundation expanded into the New Testament (NT), but somewhere along the way – the laws stopped applying, or did they? What was the criteria for them to be no longer valid for people who worshipped God?

In the NT (Matthew 5:17-18) Jesus said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Later he says that heaven and earth ‘will’ pass away (Matthew 24:35), but he doesn’t mention exactly when; no, that’s left to the writer of Revelation (John?) to say that it hasn’t happened yet, among others, and won’t until Jesus comes again .. so why is it that Christians are no longer ‘under the law’?

Of course, I tried this question on the Christian person I mentioned in the other post, in a polite fashion, and s/he focused on fulfilment being the crucificion/resurrection, and completely ignored the fact that ‘heaven and earth’ had not gone yet, even when asked ‘clearly’ twice, so you’ll have to settle for my opinion.

Let me get pedantic, and literal, as the fundamentalists demand that we be, when reading the Bible. If the whole book is the unerring Word of God, and there are no errors or omissions, no bits added or deleted, or rewritten, and its very easy to understand – then the words spoken by Jesus are exactly what he said, and so, if heaven and earth were not the physical ones, why didn’t he say so at the time? I’ve read the passage, the chapters and everything around them, and tons of notes about the subject, and I cannot find any mention, by Jesus, of us viewing it as a metaphorical statement. He never mentioned it was a parable. And if he didn’t mean it literally, why do we have Revelation stating it has not happened yet, or 2 Peter 3:11 saying we are still waiting for it, which completely contradicts Paul (Romans & Galatians) inferring that it had? Why does it not apply anymore?

A gentleman on a Christian webpage writes very clearly that the Law became a stumbling block.

“This Law, then, by its very nature of coming out of the heart of God, and being spoken to men, is a standard for human conduct, a perfect standard. Because it was perfect, and we are not, it is impossible for sinful people to keep. It was for this reason that the Law became a stumbling block. It became an obstacle to Man because it is an unattainable perfect standard. The Law, then, brings about the opposite of what it requires. The Law says to be perfect, but shows you where you are not. It says to be holy, but condemns you when you are not. Since it is not possible for us to keep the Law and therefore earn our position with God, we then need the holiness of God given to us — because there simply isn’t any way for us to attain to the standard of God.” M.S. (If you would like his URL please contact me, I am more than happy to supply it).

It’s a very good point, and a perfect reason for finding ways to get around it .. but .. then he goes on to point out that because Jesus was perfect, we are made perfect through faith in Him. Lovely. I don’t really want to argue with that, but how does it explain that we have had to buy our way into heaven? Catholic Indulgences Afterall, sometimes being a ‘good’ Christian is simply too hard. But I keep thinking that being saved by Grace .. and oddly, I believe we are .. means that we are letting someone else take responsibility for our behaviour, when we, through our own choices, commit sins (don’t obey the rules), but suddenly I wonder, since the ‘laws’ no longer apply, how can we know what ‘is’ a sin, and what isn’t? The commandments were very clear, but since they no longer apply???, being part of the Law, where does that leave us? Jesus is said to be the one perfect atonement for our sins, but if we choose (and it is a choice) to sin over and over again, is he still going to come along, accept our apology, pat us on the head and says ‘Go your ways, and from now on do not sin again (John 8:11)’. So how many times is enough – just how much of this will God take?

If God’s love is conditional, then when someone does a foolish (its got to be foolish, if not downright stupid, to anger God) action, speaks the wrong words, or has sinful thoughts, they will be sent to hell. If God’s love is unconditional, we only have our own karma to deal with. You know karma – some people call it ’cause and effect’, for every action there is an equal and opposite way to balance/replay it. Of course, you have to believe you have more than one lifetime to do so, depending on your behaviour .. but that’s another article in itself.

So then I drifted back to checking the bible for quotes about heaven and earth passing away, and found Luke, who says “the law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force” (John 16:16). That seems very specific! So now I am confused. πŸ™‚ It seems John’s (the Baptist?) coming is what stopped the Law applying to Christians, or is it more particularly the Jewish people (and so why is it in the Christian Bible in the NT?), since he died before Jesus was crucified, so he was never Christian.

Please do not tell me this is not a confusing book.

And on a stranger note again – Buying your way into heaven I think I really hope this isn’t true.

Love & Peace
Ama