The past two years have been quite a ride for my theology, and I don’t really know where to begin. My own life has changed significantly in that time, having been through two relationships, graduated college, and moved, but that almost feels separate from what’s occupied my mind for most of this time.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with scripture recently, which has always been true for me, but it’s different now.
For such a long time, reading the Bible was always a work of the Spirit for me.
It was wieghtless.
These words convey a sense of vulnerability, which is beautiful, but they can also be associated with something else:
I would read the Bible, and say to myself that this is the Truth of God, unbridled, unabashed, raw, and plain, being proud of all His deeds and the violent, magical realism of scripture. I was assured that my value for the text stemmed from knowing that all of these events happened.
At this time, it felt really good to read the Bible.
Now, reading the Bible feels a lot more like going to war.
And this isn’t a morally clear war either. I never really know if I’m on the right side.
Ironically enough, this kind of war can feel a bit Middle Eastern, if you know what I mean.
My educational background is English literature, which isn’t as poetic as it sounds. The process of literary criticism is one of intense research, evaluation, citation, debate, scholarship, typing long paragraphs, deleting them, and finally re-presenting someone else’s opinion, because sometimes forming your own is impossible. At the end of the day, a well done analysis can almost feel like a realization of faith.
And this belief in the science of literary criticism has given me a little insight into knowing what makes a book tick.
The thing within the thing, as Rob Bell likes to say.
I’ve learned a lot about the Bible recently (which is not just one book but…