I've read the following four books recently which have informed my thinking:
- The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight.
- Junia Is Not Alone by Scot McKnight.
- The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It by Peter Enns.
- The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs by Peter Enns.
This coupled with events around me, conversations with friends, email correspondence with others and current events has caused a time of reflection for me.
I believe there is a story unfolding and that there is a creator who stepped into history 2000 years ago.
I believe that those who encountered this creator 2000 years ago had profound experiences that impacted their entire lives, changed the direction of their lives and accordingly changed history from that point onward. They were so profoundly impacted by what they saw, felt, heard and experienced that couldn't help but tell others of what they had seen. They wrote of their experiences, insights, believes and practices. Many of them reportedly died difficult deaths because of their beliefs.
I believe this 'story' for two fundamental reasons. First, everything I see in the world runs down, not up. Something had to get everything started. Call it a big bang or a creation or something else, but something or someone started all of this we see and experience. Second, the core parts of their story, the brokenness of the world (which we see everywhere), the felt need for some kind of restoration/rescue/redemption and the principle that loving one another is of most importance rings deeply true to me.
Organized religion seems to have put much tradition, rules and boundaries around lots of things that sometimes help and sometime confuse and hinder us.
If you accept the hypothesis that the story is true, then we must be careful to not confuse the rules and traditions with the core elements of the story.
From the written words of one of the eyewitnesses, Matthew:
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together.One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Much to consider. Trying to get it right. Or at least trying to discern my way...
Blessings to you on your journey.