Sometimes we get so passionate about “the thing” that we lose “the thing” in the fire of our passion. It gets burned up, charred, and unrecognizable from its original state. For Christians; what happens when we confuse the Creator with the created?
Sarah Bessey speaks below on her expectations of the Bible;
“I think I used to elevate the Bible to being a fourth member of the Trinity. I yearned for systematic theology with charts and graphs and easy-to-decode secrets. I wanted answers and clarity—the cry of the modern reader. But the more I read of the Bible, the more confused I became. So much of the Bible didn’t line up with that I had been taught about the Bible. Old Testament scholar Peter Enns summed me right up when he said that the problem isn’t the Bible, “the problem is coming to the Bible with expectations it’s not set up to bear.’ My expectation was divinity, simplicity, infallibility, literalism, easy answers. The Bible wasn’t meant to fulfill those expectations anymore than it was meant to receive my worship.”
The Bible as "idol" can get muddled; we, as Christians, believe it is “holy reading”. But are we using Scripture to expand our minds and discussions, or to stifle and silence them? Does it oppress or free?
“How unfortunate to use the Bible as a conversation stopper, not a starting point…it’s a sacramental reading, a holy reading. But this means loving the reality of the Bible, instead of the ideal of a modern construct…NT Wright said 'the Bible then, is designed to function through human beings, through the Church, through people who, living still by the Spirit, have their life molded by this Spirit-inspired book.'”
The Bible is alive; both in the way we grow and progress as individuals, and as a collective human community. The Bible is not stagnant; it does not collect dust; it is not a fossil. The Bible is alive, and it is alive in us. The Bible is one (holy and sacramental) expression of God. The Bible is not God.
[And the Bible does not contain a monopoly on God's Truth. Transcendent Truth touches everything, like a sunrise. If we believe that God is everywhere and in everything - or can redeem everything - and humans are made in the image of God - then how could we deny that the Truth of God has the potential to touch everything? It may not say “Jesus” or “Christian” or “American”, but as Bessey mentioned later too; “Who can limit God to one book or one culture?”]
There is a beauty to letting a text breathe. Grow. Affect us. Live through and transform us. It is not dead; not gold; not stiff. There is a beauty to letting ourselves breathe.
Friends, it's time we took a breath.