“If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children.” – Asaph
I heard a story once about Amelia Earhart. According to the storyteller, Earhart and her husband would, on their anniversary, have a frank discussion about the state of their marriage. It was an annual opportunity to decide of each was going to “re-up” for another year by talking through how things were really going.
The idea of “re-upping” doesn’t fly in a small group of evangelical Christians. I know this one. “Marriage is for life.” “God hates divorce.” And I’m pretty sure he hates a crap marriage as well. I’m pretty sure that marriage, like “leader” was intended by God to describe how we live, not a title or social contract. My point isn’t really about marriage though, it’s about conversation, communication and dialogue. We aren’t allowed to talk about some of these things – at least with some people – even most people. There are certain topics for each of us, I imagine, that our personal baggage makes taboo.
We’re in a culture that’s hot for answers and has no patience for wrestling with each other or with God over the issues of life. Unless we’re forced to.
Reading through the story of Jesus in the New Testament you find lots of stories, lots of questions, lots of metaphor and simile, but very few straight answers. That’s, apparently, what preachers are for. We can explain it to you and earn our keep. What I can’t get my head around is the idea that the creator of the ears, eyes, mouth and brain could be so damn bad at communication. If he’s the God who knows the future why didn’t he spell things out for us much more clearly than he did?
Unless, of course, his intention wasn’t to be the Answer God.
What if Jesus’ goal not only then but now was to appeal to those who have ears to hear – to engage with those who are desperate (or at least willing) to engage? And what if his idea for us is to be people who wrestle together for answers, like what to do about the new Gentile converts, who have to rely on what seems right to us and to the Holy Spirit?
Some of us aren’t interested. For some of us, to ask one question brings everything in to question and if we’re not SURE about one thing, how can we be sure about ANYTHING? I have to acknowledge this is the reality that a lot of us live within our relationship or pursuit of God or the gods. Some of us though, some of us aren’t there. Some of us are sceptical, not because of the questions but because of the unasked questions. Some of us feel like we’re playing marbles with diamonds and we’re settling for a hollow imitation instead of the real thing.
If you can’t say that, whatever your ‘that’ is, where do we go to scratch the itch we feel?
…to be continued