Sunday, March 15, 2009

First Words

Before reading the work of anyone interpreting the Bible, I feel it's important you know about them. Religion is the act of making God in the image of a person's mind and convincing other people that your image is correct. It seems to be a common human trait to accept a convincing human argument. From time to time there will be another within a group who decides to read the words for themselves, and re-makes God into their image. VoilĂ  - a new religion is created.

So. About me. I went to a seminary that is listed as non-denominational, but it was easy to tell they were pretty much Baptist based. I was comfortable there, and learned much. I graduated summa cum laude, and was a fairly compliant student. That was unusual for me, but I was being taught subservience to those in charge, largely from scriptural references. It was obvious to me that by the end of my 'education' we were being taught to be 'footnote' Christians.

What does that mean? I'll explain. If a passage seemed a bit difficult, then read the footnotes. In seminary we learned rudimentary Greek and Hebrew, probably just enough to get in trouble; but in reality just enough to impress a congregation with a reference to the Greek or Hebrew every few weeks so they understood that you went to school long enough to be able to teach them things about God. However, because many people in the congregation would own "study" bibles, it was important to know the footnotes, and mostly use those for reference when preparing a sermon. It did not matter that the footnotes contradicted history or archaeology, or that the footnotes were created by a person. The footnotes were part of the "bible", and therefore just as important.

That struck me, and still strikes me as shallow.

I believe in the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus said "behold, the kingdom of God is within you" to the Pharisees (Luke 17:20). I believe the Pharisees were religious, and represent all religious people and all religions. I believe in the scriptures as a love letter from God that tells of Christ from the first verses of Genesis to the final verses of Revelation. It is with that understanding that I will be sharing my thoughts of Genesis in this blog. I do have a person to blame - one J Vernon McGee. I recall his challenge on day while listening to his daily "Bible Bus" sermons to find Jesus on every page. He was honest enough to say he was still working on it, and I will be honest enough to say the same thing. I just want to share that his challenge has been my joy for more than 20 years now.

Very little of what I share will be original with me. Everything I share, however, I have filtered through myself and found it to be true for me. You could say, I've recreated God in my image. My prayer is that this is not true, but my intellect warns me of this possibility. In that regard, I look forward to blogging these thoughts because I will depend on readers to call me when I start saying my thoughts are God's thoughts. I'm hoping the comment section will generate conversations that will allow me to continue growing in my knowledge and trust of God.