Monday, February 11, 2008

Not Much

But what do I know, you continue to want to know. What do you know? Kind of like the quiz show on NPR. The one from Madison, I think. The one in which the audience says, Not much. You?

And I must say, Not much, as well. I struggle with the Bible. I struggle with God experience. I struggle with how comprehensible some of this stuff really is.

I mean, how seriously should we take God? How seriously should we be reading the Bible? How carefully should we be listening to our pastors, clergy, priests, and so on? The people we pay to tell us about God? The people we pay to take care of us? To tell us the straight story? The straight God story?

I mean, maybe what I should be doing is sitting back. Flip on the autopilot. Leave the whole business up to the specialists. The professionals.

Maybe what I should do is turn in my Bible to the nearest God-professional and say, Here you make sense of this for me. You’re the one with the training. You’re the one with the interest. You’re the one with the financial motivation. You’re the one with the inside track. Here, just let me get comfortable here in the pew or the chair or whatever, and while you talk, I’ll take a little rest for myself. Take five for myself.

I’d love it if you would make sense of this for me. I’ll believe whatever you say. I’ll nod my head vigorously from time to time. I can be agreeable, see? I can be a nice guy. You take over from here. Put me on your mailing list. Your email list.

A person like myself reads about the history of the church. About the arguments that have gone back and forth. The disputes that seemed to be settled but then popped up again. About all the excommunications because people disagreed with one another over what Christ means. Who he was. What he did. What the Bible means. About all the executions and wars and so on over interpretations of the Bible. Understandings of the Bible. Understandings of God.

The history of people hammering at one another to get political advantage. Theological advantage. Economic advantage. Military advantage.

And a guy like me looks at all that. A guy who makes his living elsewhere. A guy who has no financial or political or theological or professional or military interest. And a guy like me says, Shoot. This doesn’t look like the history of Christianity. It looks like the history of. Well. Just the history of people. People who don’t mind beating one another up. People who don’t mind a little murder. A little war. A little torture. A little strident writing. A little loud yelling. All in the name of God.

And a guy like me wonders what the heck the big deal is anyway. What is a little disagreement about a little idea like Christlikeness in the white light of eternity? What is all the fuss about anyway? Let it ride. Let it go. Ease up. Ignore it. Let it slide on by. All that’s happening here is that you’re getting yourself worked up and a few pastors worked up. Some ill feelings all around.

So what’s the point? Why bother? Would you please just be like Christ, and if they need some slack, give them all they want. All they need. Just laugh it off. Get a sense of humor, will you? Forget it ever happened. Forget it ever came up. Be forgiving and understanding like a good Christian. A good little Christ. Be nice for a change. Mind your own business. Let the pastors and clergy and priests take care of this for you. Leave it in their capable hands.

Smile more often. Work on being a better person, for Pete’s sake. Loosen your bullets.

Okay, so what you’re hearing makes no sense to you? Open up your ears. No one else has trouble with this. Everyone else likes the idea. Everyone else is quite happy with it. You must be defective. You must misunderstand. You’re being picky. Really really picky. That’s a polite name for what you are.

So what if the pastors who espouse this Christlikeness business can’t point to persuasive evidence and logic. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any evidence. Any logic. There’s plenty of evidence and logic for this. Otherwise, this idea wouldn’t keep popping up in Christian literature for. Oh. Millennia.

And so what if this idea doesn’t make sense to you? It makes sense to everyone else. No one else is squawking. No one else is making a hubbub. A lot of useless noise.

So settle down. Take a load off. Cool your sphincters. So who are you anyway? What do you know? Not much, as I say. You?

So be quiet, then. Quit flapping your big mouth. Give this a rest. Give us all a much deserved rest.

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