They will know you are mine because of your love. Be united. Don’t let the sun go down when you’re angry. I poured out my love on this world, do likewise in remembrance of me. My kindness will lead you to repentance. When your child asks for a new pokemon card, you don’t give him a cup of molten lava.
So we know the mechanics of love. We know what works. We know what the hard parts are, we know what the fun parts are. We know that love is good, and we know that God has high standards for us in the mechanics of love. His high standard was coming to earth as God man to adopt us fully into the God head and the disgust for life that the powers of death had ended in the God death. And he calls us to do likewise. To not embrace the powers of death and oppression. To not even nervously waltz with the power structures of our times, as if we are taking it on a first date.
And yet, most of the representatives of the bride, are very much carbon copied from the representatives of the king of death. And I think it comes from an addiction to worshipping the bible instead of following scripture as a big arrow to JESUS. A man, a person, a God.
What do all Churches have in common? Jesus. Our common belief that he is the son of God, fully man, fully God to bring mortals into eternity and paint the world with life, the perfect redemption plan.
What else do Churches have in common? A differing opinion on how we read the bible. How we see the bible. How we interpret the bible. Not that Jesus exists, not that people should meet Jesus. Not that we should love the world in ways that will get uncomfortable sometimes…. but, how we differ on how we read a book. Even in the book we aren’t told to do that. Theres no “Oh yeah.. be unified but, treat those that believe pretty much the same things as you as dirt because they think one word is different to you.”? or that other non existent verse “make Jesus look bad… just do it. Just fight about stupid things”.
And I know, some of us will argue “but they aren’t stupid things, knowing exactly what will happen after we die is super important for what we are doing right now” and similar other protestations. But, the meta story of God and humanity is – God is good, humanity is not great at knowing that and trusting to that, when humanity gets along its pretty great, when humanity doesn’t get along, reality gets a little not-so-great.
If the bible ceased to exist for some reason, a lot of people would freak out, as if Jesus, the agreed upon son of God, and the Holy Spirit, the agreed upon essence of God (the sometimes freakish, sometimes very quiet, essence of God) resided both in the text on a page. As if the bible as a physical document had magical powers. As if without it, the God-head is muted, unable to enact its love for us ever again.
I love the bible. But the bible is just a stupid book. An unfeeling, nuance-free book that CAN guide us well. A collections of books that CAN bring more life to our reality. But ultimately its just a big old arrow to ultimate reality itself. JESUS. The creator, the redeemer, the adopter.
A book can’t create anything. A book can’t redeem. A book can’t love. A book can’t do anything. Its an inanimate object. An interactionless, inanimate object that points us to love, and points us to God, whom is the one that creates and redeems and loves. It points us to love each other too. Not to argue about the book in such a way that we can no longer seek unity with each other. In such a way that leaves a bad taste in the mouths of hundreds of thousands of formers or never beens.
I love the bible, but I often dislike what it does to our interactions with the real living God and the real people He loves.