These writings were from my solo vacation to a little red caboose cabin near Bandera, Texas this past week. A long weekend of relaxing, reflection and exploration.
My struggles with Jesus actually complicate my whole relationship (for lack of a better term) with the Bible, specifically the New Testament. What do I do with all of these scriptures claiming that Jesus was the messiah? I can’t just ignore them. That means the Bible becomes for me a collection of stories. Stories that people interpret and bend to mean what they want them to mean.
Taking the Bible purely as allegory is problematic, because where do the interpretations stop? Where do they enter the realm of the completely ridiculous? I don’t know what I want or need from the Bible yet – I just know that the elusive “it” exists. I can’t pick and choose what I like. When I first starting learning about the bible (and the Early Christianities course is excellent for this) I felt that I was moving further and further away from it.
From what I understand:
1. There are no actual writings of Jesus
2. There are no proven writings of the original 12 apostles
3. What we know of the New Testament in particular was not canonized until hundreds of years after Jesus’ life and death
4. The stories/scriptures were transcribed by scribes over those hundreds of years, making numerous mistakes
5. Some text was actually altered purposefully to counter the religions considered heretical at the time
6. There are many forgeries in the New Testament not written by who the author claimed to be
After this list, I didn’t see how I could be left with anything but an interesting collection of stories. Based on little fact. Stories that inspire perhaps. But then don’t a lot of books? I can think of many books (even fiction!) that I’ve read that completely move and I might even say transform me. Transform my way of thinking and looking at things. I don’t worry that these aren’t fact. I just accept the emotion and go with it. I learn from it and have no problem applying my new found truth to my world.
Why can’t I look at the Bible like this? As long as I don’t condemn others for what moves them. Maybe the Bible is like a treasure chest, where everybody reaches in and comes out with something precious to them. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
I feel at last that I’m approaching this book more honestly than I ever have. I just needed to understand the foundation, the beginning. I didn’t like the feeling (real or imagined) that there were things I shouldn’t know as a Christian because it would rock my faith. On the contrary, I feel I can build faith better on an honest crooked foundation than a smooth façade.