Friday, June 15, 2012

Jeremiah 50-52, Lamentations, Ezekiel 1-23

Although i read all of the above passages, the stuff that stuck with me was all from Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 12:24
"For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel."

Ezekiel 20:49
Then I said, "Ah, Lord God! They say of me, 'Does he not speak parables?'"


The first passage made me think of C. S. Lewis (i have got to read more apologetics). I think it was "Surprised by Joy", but it may have been "Mere Christianity". Anyway, he was talking about one critique of Christianity being its weirdness and lack of rational, logical conclusions. According to Lewis, "Reality, in fact, is usually something you could not have guessed. That is one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It is a religion you could not have guessed. If it offered us just the kind of universe we were expecting, I should feel we were making it up. But, in fact, it is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up. It has just that twist about it which real things have." We like to believe things that are flattering to us, that make us feel better, that are easy to understand. God doesn't offer that.

Second, this made me think of Jesus and of my church and of the debates about the reliability of the Bible. Some people think that every word of the Bible should be understood literally: the world was created in six days of 24 hours each, Eve was created from Adam's rib, women should not speak in church. Others say that the Bible is a collection of stories and poems that point to a greater truth beyond mere literal fact. I've written a little about this before, so i won't go into all that now.

But here's the thing: it is possible for something to be true without being literal. And throughout the entire Bible, God has spoken to His people in stories, in parables, in allegories, in metaphors, in poems. He almost never speaks literally. I don't know why this is, but it's true.

My pastor occasionally preaches in parables instead of traditional sermons. Some people don't like it. I usually feel like it's more authentic that way.

It's more confusing, more layered, more nuanced, and more open to interpretation. Probably because God isn't interested in building an army of robots. He wants people who will be in relationship with Him and with one another. If the Bible were absolutely, literally true in every instance, none of us would ever need to talk to one another or to God. But the fact that it is open to interpretation means that we need to spend a lot of time in intentional community and discussion. We need to be open to one another and to God, we need to be aware of different points of view, and we need to be humble and curious. Because He does, in fact, speak parables.

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