Friday, 6 March 2009

Been thinking about the Bible lately and comparing it to a script. Have you ever read the script to a play or a movie and found it really hard to work out how the script should be read? Or you read it and think it's a particular way, and then you see the work performed on stage or screen and realise how much you got it wrong? How much it springs to life when someone enlivens it, when the words are being spoken out of a real mouth and expressed in a real body in a real context that has real application, not just speaking out to eternity? Seems to me at face value that Christianity of all the religions is one which must be embodied, the way the feasts were embodied in Judaism, for example. Seems to me that a religion that was never meant to be a religion, that gets stuffed up in our heads in a purely theoretical scientific method of discerning and sifting wheat from chaff, is going to be rather far off the mark from its original intent. Still, we all know this, don't we. We can feel the unease, embodied in our bodies ;)

I suppose that's why I hold biblical interpretations so much more loosely these days. First because we are at least 2000 years from any of those words coming out of the mouth of a real live person. Secondly, we are cultural way far from Israel 2000 and more years ago, a culture which shares more (I think in my limited knowledge) with Eastern thought than it does with Western. I do not read the bible anymore so much as a prescriptive list of dos and dont's or I will incur God's wrath as I do a series of questions, designed, I believe personally, for us to think deeper and enable the Spirit to do the work in us, one-on-one, out here in the real world, not inside our heads in an intellectual bookish sort of way, as inclusive as that element of is. It's just not the whole picture, that's all.

We miss the isness and the oneness in favour of diving and conquering, separating and naming.

I really think we miss a lot. I really wish the Bible had come with a free DVD pack so I could get some more context. But in the meantime, I'm happier to sit with discrepancies and mysteries and inconsistencies than I am to be told how to interpret something by people who are 2000 years away from the action, and generally powerful, privileged, and smothered under possessions (read: rich, white, Westerners, most often men).

The water is deeper out here but oh, you can do somersaults in it :)


  1. you can probably get a bible with a dvd at your local christian hypermart.

  2. Yeah, I could, with cheesy American interpretations (apologies to my American friends), made in 2009 or 1986. But not an as-spoken-at-the-time DVD made right there on the spot. That's what I want :)

  3. Wouldn't it be just grand if we could see the bible performed by the original cast? I would like to think that is something we'll find in heaven. :)

    In any case, I'm with you on this. Even the part about cheesy American interpretations. I am one who even thinks about the written bible as being cheesy English interpretations/translations. Then if we expand, there are the cheesy WESTERN interpretations.

    We don't really know much, no one today lived during that time therefore we only have our best guesses and most scientific conclusions, but we don't really KNOW. How the hell did "two or more" become 10,000?

  4. You are right - it was unfair of me to single out American interpretations (I think I do simply because I have been inundated with more cheesy Americana religiosity than anything else. But that's not to say that there isn't plenty cheesy Australian interpretations around, I'm sure, also :)

    It would be grand to see the Bible "live". I just can't help feeling like we read certain things flat on the page and maybe they were meant in jest, or snidely, or sarcastically, or funnily, or annoyedly, or angrily, or whatever. Who knows?

  5. I didn't think it was unfair, I thought it was spot on. I think modern humanity as a whole has made a laughingstock of some of what God really meant, because we're selfish and unenlightened.


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