Tuesday, June 23, 2009

(What) The Bible Tells Me So...

I started reading Richard Rohr's "Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality" this morning, and about ran out of ink, underlining the introduction ALONE...! [Richard Rohr is a Catholic priest ... a contemporary mystic, and a wonderful reSource I've recently discovered.]

I'm loving that he's making sense out of the Bible ... I've never had the the notion that I'm to discount the Scriptures (or Jesus, for that matter!) just because the traditions of man have nullified them. I see the Bible as a gift, and I want to appreciate the gift for what it IS -- not a rule-book, not a source of "how to form the correct conclusion," but a macrocosm of what's going on within mySELF (& humanity in general) ... my journey, writ large, through the collective consciousness of humanity, as it/they/we encounter God, seemingly without, and finally withIN...!

Just as we so-often take 3 steps forward (grasping a concept, glimpsing truth), and then 2 steps backward (doubting the concept, thinking the truth "too good to be true"), so TOO has humanity, through the ages! This reality is painstakingly revealed throughout Scripture - a live-action demonstration of the fallibility of man, and the patient-mercy of God.

We make a mistake when we read the scriptures literally/woodenly, thinking that the backward-motions are to be codified ... where they're really meant to be demonstrative, showing us how we do the same ... showing us that we too can move from darkness into Light, even if the path seems hopelessly circuitous and meandering ... even if we *imagine* ourselves to be "lost," "forsaken," "separated," or "condemned" along the way (always keeping in mind that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he).

Just as our own concepts of God are birthed in our immature/obscure perspective, and then emerge, slowly (& even painfully!) into maturity and clarity -- so TOO has it been with mankind as a whole. Just as we once saw our own parents' disciplines as harsh and unloving (& SO unfair!), only to later realize that they were motivated by love for us (unless we had parents who were confused & unconscious) ... so TOO has mankind evolved from seeing God as a harsh and wrathful demanding-volcano-God (who requires sacrifices), to seeing that God is 100% love, and 100% goodness ... the God who sacrifices even His own reputation for His beloved children ... allowing us to malign His nature and character, as all the while He woos us into all truth ... knowing well that we know *not* what we do (for He knows we are as He made us to be).

The Bible teaches me that stumbling is part of the process (how did we not get this, in watching our own children learning to walk?).

It teaches me that my choices (in not just what I *do* but in what I choose to *think*) are part of my transformation.

The Bible teaches me that God did not want sacrifice and appeasement, but mercy and intimacy.

The Bible teaches me that the letter of the law kills, but that the Spirit brings life.

The Bible teaches me that I'm to be an experiential-participant in my own life, and that God wants to have experiential encounters with me (rather than to have me living vicariously off of the historical encounters of others).

The Bible teaches me that I'm to have the approach of a curious child (a "beginner's mind"/humility), rather than a mind that assumes I've already arrived at "all truth" (pride/arrogance).

The Bible teaches me that I'm not a human being trying/striving to become spiritual, but that I'm a spiritual being, having a human experience (that we're all spiritual beings, whether we yet know it or not).

It teaches me that I'm not to be afraid, despite appearances that would seem to be fearful ("judge not by appearances").

It teaches me that I don't have to believe everything I think (HUGE "aha" for me!).

The Bible teaches me that God doesn't want my understanding of Him to be based on "what the Bible says," but on what I experience in the dynamic spirit/Spirit relationship within me!

It teaches me that change is integral to life ... that we are not static, but dynamic (shift happens)!

Best of all, the Bible teaches me that God is much different than religion has taught -- that He is better than we had feared -- that He's too good to NOT be true...!

God does not change -- but our ability to perceive and accept God as He is does indeed transition and enlarge over time. Both individually and collectively/historically. The Bible demonstrates this in graphic and living color. I have learned to not just read the "black" of the Bible (the ink-on-page), but to also read the "white" (the space in-between, where the Spirit both inspires and interprets).

How beautifully FREEING it is for me to finally realize that life is not meant to be a straight line, a pass/fail test, but that it's *meant* to be a process of getting-the-point, and then missing-the-point and then getting-it-anew-again ... of encountering God in various ways (through various means), and to learn who He is (and thus who we are) even while fighting Him, avoiding Him, running from Him. Catching glimpses of breath-takingly beautiful truth, only to dismiss it as "too good to be true - I must be making that up." God uses ALL of it. Out of all the infinite options God had at His disposal, in setting up this universe, THIS is the one He chose -- the very one we're experiencing. It is utterly laughable to imagine (in our arrogance!) that we have thwarted the plans and purpose of God...!

There is a grand purpose in this adventure of life ... discovering who we are *not* (through our harmful-or-helpful choices, and the resulting consequences) ... so that we can recognize (re-cognize, re-KNOW) who we really ARE...!

I love discovering that I can appropriate and appreciate the Scriptures (including Scriptures from other faith-traditions) for what they ARE, rather than for what the traditions of man told me they are ... NOT a rule-book, NOT a guide for forming the "correct" conclusions, but a panoply of an unfolding/dawning perspective ... moving out of murkiness into the brilliance of Light -- emerging out of a dim-glass perspective into the "too good to NOT be true" glory of all Truth..!

Yes -- it is true -- God comes to me disguised as my life.

May the grand adventure continue...!

Shalom, Dena


MysticBrit said...

Dena, you're on a roll, slinging Truth all over the place and making no apologies. You also rock;) Many thanks for this latest outpouring of a Joy-full heart!

marianne said...

Whew...wish I could be that articulate;-) Bold, insightful, thoughtful and well informed. Thanks.

~K~ said...

Hey Dena!

Thanks for the blogspot. As always it is inspiring to read and joyful too.

Paige Marshall said...

Ahhh...Well said :)

dena said...

Y'all are so encouraging! I'm honored and humbled by your kind words. I'm having a BLAST, discovering who I really am, and reveling in the freedom of expressing myself while en route on this journey! Free to say, "this is what I think (this week!)", and even "I don't know," trusting that He is in all things, drawing all of us ever-more into His amazing heart (from whence we came)!

Plus, y'know, I have to get all the words out each day, or else I lie there, muttering and unable to sleep, annoying my dear husband, Mark...! ;)