I am the third child of a peace and love ex-hippie type and a mother who grew up in the country with immigrant parents. So I get most of my faux racism from her. Jokes. #Australia
Because of my non-violent upbringing and naively hopeful look on life I bring that baggage to the table of most discussions. So as the whole world is talking about how Syrian refugees mask possible terrorists so we shouldn’t let any of them across our borders, I keep thinking. Why? Syrians are awesome. They can’t be terrorists. Why can’t we all get along?
And when people screw me over or lie, it doesn’t take long for me to completely forgive and forget and then attempt to make them my best friend.
On top of that I grew up in a region of Christendom that had elitist leanings and conservative social values, so when I engaged with people in a ‘churchy’ context, it would be clouded by this mental and social conditioning from 19 years in shared language and conclusions that turned into instinct.
So for every issue I come to I have these multiple little dialogues in my brain space. It goes from my instinct to my knowledge base, to what ever I have learned recently and back to my instinct because I sort of have to trust my instincts right? But then my hopeful naivity usually wakes up at that stage and stumbles into the room like “Hey guys… just do it man”, not that my hopeful naivity is smoking weed or nothing, he just isn’t so educated.
This whole mental housemate meeting gets quite passionate sometimes and it is no more obvious as when discussions revolve around what the bible says about a hot button topic.
My favourite vox pops from my individual house mate meeting that gets acted out most every time in real life is the classic:
“But everyone knows that the bible says…..”
Now sure, somethings are known about the bible by most people. Things like: its a book, it was written, God had something to do with it, theres violence and love in it, Jesus features – a cameo of sorts, theres parts we shouldn’t listen to and parts that we don’t listen to for whatever reason.
The essence behind the statement though, comes from what I like to call
“the baggage we bring to the bible”
Now, this baggage isn’t a bad thing, and its defintely something God had to have accounted for. Writing a book through people who suck, for people who suck, translated and copied and studied all by people with a penchant to suck at something at least once a week. – Maybe some of the grandmas once a year, but that took 80 years of sucking once a week to attain. – So… God wasn’t all like “They gon be perfect when they is readin this” (yes… in this example God is white trash, because everyone knows white trash is street smart… they isn’t book smart otherwise they would make their own mayonaise)
So we all come to the bible with baggage. We all come to world issues with baggage. and we most definitely come to both of these things with only our own perspective, as we have not perfected the drone eye just yet.
So lets take an easy hot button issue like homosexuality. Now I’m not going to try and “solve” the hot button issue, I just use it as an example, but lets say you have spent your 23 years on the earth struggling to figure out how to bring your same sex attraction, together with the love you feel and understand from God. Or lets say that you are a very conservative, very straight, very ‘i’ve only loved one woman’ kind of guy. Or lets say that you look like a guy but you are actually a woman and you’ve spent your whole life being called or being mistaken for a man. You see what I’m getting at? Imagine you are one side of the coin trying to figure out whats on the other side of the coin without flipping it.
Imagine you are blindfolded in a room with forty people and a strawman on fire and each of you have to discribe what it is that is on fire.
We all have baggage. and We all have a perspective with huge blindspots. So in the creation story that the people of Israel and their affiliates ascribe to, God found Adam had done what he was asked not to do and God begins to ask questions. God…. The creator of all, gets more information.
But not us. Not us at all. We read Romans and Leviticus and shake hands with a gay person and we got this. We understand it all. Not thinking about what our baggage holds us back from. Not thinking about how many more perspectives there are. And not at all trusting that the Holy Spirit knows his job.
My baggage has destroyed how much I see of the beauty of scripture and people. But the more I remember how much baggage I carry, and sometimes the baggage I get rid of, the freer I am to ask more questions and see more sides and gain more understanding from the 80 year old grandmas.
Grace and trust is the freedom to not know it all and the freedom to love everyone. Because thats our job. We haven’t been given the complete capacity to hate well. So why would we?
Read it better.