I’m not sure what’s led to a complete and utter lack of discernment in this world but we’re there. As a Christian, I basically speak directly to two “facts” of 2012:
The Bible is written by men thousands of years ago and can’t be trusted
Everything said in current day should be assumed fact immediately
Sure, some of you reading this will contest one or both of those, most likely the latter. We want to pretend we have discernment but in an age of retweets it’s push the button first – tobe first – and then worry about the truth and the fallout afterwards. Which brings me to the article that prompted this:
Read the blurbs and the Tweets and what we have is an original manuscript that finally proves Jesus was married. This is good news for false Christians because it means Jesus was more human than we thought (read: sinned) and now we’re justified in our human actions! Good stuff. All this from one single cellphone-sized fragment of papyrus.
Except that’s not what the story was. The actual story, possibly best laid out in The Christian Post, is that someone found a tiny single fragment of papyrus that said Jesus was married. What does that mean? That at some point in history someone thought Jesus was married. Which we already knew. Which has been proven false through 19,300 fragments of New Testament writings dating as far back as AD125.
But in 2012 a single fragment of papyrus that tells us something we want to hear is far more important than a book written by men that has no doubt been translated poorly over time and no longer tells the same story. Ignore that we have almost 20,000 fragments of varying sizes that have been used as recently as the past decade to translate, ignore that there are thousands of single fragments that aren’t reliable.
The truth is the information is out there. The New Testament is the most historically accurate translation in print, above and beyond any other book you could find. We’re confident in the translation. It’s written closer to the source material than any other historical book, so those of us who’ve taken the time to research are confident in the material. Where the true issue lies isn’t in translations or material, it’s in a book that tells us how to live when we’d rather guide our own ship. I have far more respect for someone who simply admits that than those who choose to perpetuate ridiculous “facts” online.
“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried.”
– GK Chesterton
Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we’re better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder
Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense
“… if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
I’m taking in the new Wilco CD this morning. Can I still call it a CD or is there a new name for the post-disc/sleeve era of music ownership?
The final track, One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley’s Boyfriend), tells the story of a man’s struggle with his father’s rejection of his lifestyle, based around the father’s belief in God. It’s a haunting, beautiful song launched out of a dinner (apparently) where Jeff Tweedy met said boyfriend and heard the story told here, ending in the boyfriend’s relief at the death of his father. An interview with Jeff Tweedy at chicagomag.com offered this gem: “Now he’s going to know he was wrong and that there is an only loving God.”
Which begs the question from me: “Why do people always assume all loving means all accepting?” Give it some thought.
I make no secret of the fact that I’m a Christian. I’m sure some might call me an apologetic due to the amount of time I spend researching, reading, analyzing. Like everything I do, I approach my Christianity with a huge dose of analysis. My mom likes to remind me my first word was not “mom” or “dad”, but apparently, “what’s that”. Add to this the fact that I absolutely adore a good debate and I’ve become a willing participant in many discussions, be they with other Christians or with atheists, often in regards to the deeds of those who claim to be Christians themselves.
So what are my thoughts on Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Centre, who’ve proposed marking the 9th anniversary of the World Trade Centre bombings by burning a pile of Qur’an? I think it’s a perfect example of why we never accept someone as Christian because they say they are. The Bible tells us to do a lot things, from spreading the word to non-believers to working for the benefit of the least of us. It doesn’t teach us that the desecration of items sacred to others will somehow improve the understanding and acceptance of items we hold sacred. Do Terry Jones and his parishioners feel their Bible is somehow unable to defend itself?
There’s one simple fact of human behaviour and understanding: That we aren’t reached through irrational acts of spite or anger. Yet society at large seems unable to understand or accept this. We tell people who to vote for by belittling the opposition. We tell people what movies to watch or music to listen to by insisting what they listen to isn’t good. And, apparently, some of us feel burning the Qur’an will somehow awaken others to the truth we find in our Bible. Maybe we should extend a peaceful hand and an offering of selfless compassion instead? Maybe people will vote for our candidate through proof of action and educated promises? Maybe people will listen to your music after you provide them a CD to check out? And maybe Terry Jones and the Dove World Outreach Centre would find a better way to get back to the basics of what their God teaches – to spread the word in love.