Tuesday, October 02, 2012

a strengthening thought

I'm still mired in Jeremiah and Lamentations as I climb the mountain of Reading The Bible Chronologically--well, not reading, listening when I'm still half asleep in the mornings, or listening while I'm trying to cook which means shouting 'Will You Be Quiet' every few seconds.

Anyway, where was I, oh yes...I'm particularly struck this time round, and this is the result of blowing through a whole book in a day or two, by the contrast between the dry straight forward narrative accounts of the kings and politics of Israel and Judah in Kings and Chronicles over against the deep well of emotion in the prophets, particularly when God is speaking directly (Jeremiah, of course, is really unhappy, but not more unhappy than God). I've known this intellectually and frequently fight it off on the level of the heart. Its one of the big claims of Christianity brought into stark embodiment in the Incarnation--our God is a personal God. He is personally invested in his creation.

Which, of course, is not what we want. We want something mechanistic and malleable in God, something we can really 'get a handle on'. Nevertheless, instead of cut and dry revelation from God whereby we and he can reach our stated objectives, we are given long long long passages of poetry wherein God is disappointed and angry with us for rejecting him and determined not to let us win but to save us anyway. It is tempting to rush forward to the summery narrative cut and dryness of the gospels where Jesus does stuff, says things, but doesn't seem so Emotive UNTIL you realize (by coming to all the services in Holy Week) that all the words of the prophets, all the deep grief and anger, are the words of Jesus in his passion. He not only absorbs all the sin and destruction of his creation on his cross, but all the words, all the emotion are his.

Its so messy. Its like watching the news versus spending time with someone in their grief. Everyone can do the first, none of us want to do the second.

And on that note, I'm going to turn that smile upside down and go make breakfast. Have a cheerful day!


Teacher Mommy said...

This is where we are quite different, I think--I am drawn, strongly, to the emotive parts of the Bible because I struggled so long with the dry and mechanical nature of God as set forth by so much of "religion". I find the Gospels interesting, but am drawn most strongly to The Gospel of John, which is much more emotional and personal a gospel. I go back again and again to the Psalms and Ecclesiastes and, yes, the prophets, and some of the letters in the New Testament.

I need God to be personal, otherwise I am lost and lose Him, as I was for so very long. I find, as I teach American literature with a historical approach, that I deeply pity the Founding Fathers with their deist views, because they generally had no personal connection with God. I admire them in many ways, but I pity them as well.

I would really much rather have God "get a handle" on me, as uncomfortable as that may be at times. It is rather messy, after all.

Anonymous said...

When reading original writings and sources on the founders, I struggle to find the deist views. George Washington in particular is quite open about his faith despite the many who would like it to be otherwise.

Further evidence of the need to supress the real faith of the founders can be found in the slander against the book by David Barton, Jefferson Lies. If one can make themselves look past face value at the accusations against the book, you find that they weigh heavily in being invested in destroying the messenger rather than any real fact or controversy.