Updated: Mar 10
I cannot recall a time in my life when reading the scriptures has been this difficult. My lens has so changed that the marginal notes collected in my retired versions, multiple over my 50 year journey are now hard to comprehend.
Some notes seem naive (those are most understandable in my then innocent unknowing), some now make little or no sense based on my life experience or given the likelihood that I am now somewhat jaded?
Both are troubling to me!
Was my naiveté a purity lost to the blows of service to the Institutional Church and those senior leaders once so deeply trusted, several who when the times got tough, simply left town? They all had an easy out, "called elsewhere" leaving the laity to struggle with who they might then "call!"
Perhaps my own personal failures as I have struggled through big dreams for which I was often ill-prepared. Thank God for the occasional success and all the learning in between.
As to the beliefs that make little sense, I wonder if brokenness happens to all of us as we mature, even prevalent among the writers of scripture, so evident in their contrast between what was written about God in the Old Testament and what was revealed about God in the advent of Christ.
These words God-breathed into broken adults still later blurred by those who have tried to neatly consolidate both Old and New in what we now know as the 66 books of the Bible, a book of order in Constantine's time. The New comprised of letters most intended as instruction for those in the "Way."
Throw in the opinions and conflicting doctrines of powerful theologians over the centuries...let's just say it can get confusing, the more you know.
My only consolation is how from Genesis to Revelation the narrative so mysteriously foretells the Christ, born as a man named Jesus, whom I have come to know. The Institutional Church, I now treasure not so much, more a laboratory of our brokenness.
Even the "original sin" concept when compared to Jesus' recommendation that we pattern our spiritual lives after children causes me pause, as the sin concept was first extrapolated by broken adults attempting to hear from a God they deemed wrathful. Perhaps it us in adulthood that we arrive at our brokenness?
When an adult points to the silliness of children given moments when they resist compliance with the "rules" of their parents, kids at times becoming quite ingenious and creative at times, causes me to wonder even more if we grown up, religious ones have missed something, having likely lost our "imago dei"?
We then press folk into an acceptance of our brand of adult brokenness as we generalize that humanity fell in the garden using Moses' best allegory of the original "why" of sin. Risky transparency right here!
Thinking out loud in search of truth should never be lessened by the fear of heresy or the casting of doubt. God is good and faithful in our moments of struggle, while generational religion can be ruthless and unforgiving for those who think outside the box.
Maybe it's just the Grandpa in me, now more comfortable with the kids than adults, or perhaps the Spirit is behind my struggle?
Just being real, love will do that to you!