Another year has passed by me. I’m another year older with my very first grey hair (I blame this on my children). My husband passed his big milestone birthday, still doesn’t have any hair on his head, and is having an entire crop of grey hairs of his own. Poor guy, so young and yet if he lets the bit of hair that does still exist on his head grow out any it easily makes him look 15 years older.
Birthdays and other major milestones (last baby, Kindergarten, living in the same place for more than two years, etc) have driven me to introspection with yoga and meditation bringing more to light than I necessarily appreciate as they provide the space to think and much needed quiet. The last few years have been a whirlwind of change. I have far less certainty these days, but far more contentment than I ever had before. My husband sometimes wonders where he’d be if x, y, or z never happened. Me? I can’t imagine that I’d end up anywhere else. Where I am today is a function of who I am deep inside myself…not a product of my circumstances.
Believing as I do that names are only labels and that labels, while useful in identifying who’s “in” and who’s “out,” do not define a person, I thought that as part of my inward journey I’d share some of the labels I’ve given up (or adjusted) along the way. Split up of course into manageable, chewable, reflect-able pieces.
The Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God
This change is probably foundational. I majored in this sort of thing in college with multiple courses on the how-tos, why-fors, and ins and outs. Typically it’s called hermeneutics, but there’s also a similar theme running in there that attempts to use “truth” and logic to prove the Bible along scientific, rational, universal, and literal terms. The main focus being that the Bible isn’t just God’s word in the sense of a title, but in the literal “these are the words of God.” Further justified with a blanket, “Of course the individual authors all had their own way of saying things” preface. Oh, and let’s not forget the “finalized a few centuries later” detail. We spent hours on this in far more complicated forms than the short distillation I give here. Hours.
These days? I understand the Bible to be a collection of stories, written by human beings, recording the interaction between the Divine (God) and people (something like the historical-critical method). While I do believe that people were inspired to write it, I use inspired more in a normal sense than a supernatural sense. Who wouldn’t be inspired to write about the Divine encounters in their life?
In my journey through Fundamentalism and out the other side, I’ve found that holding on to the beliefs of “inspired, inerrant” when it comes to the Bible has often lead to a kind of idolatry of the book and a silencing of those who continue to interact with the Divine right here, right now. Just because the canonical Bible has been finished does not mean that our understanding of the world in any sense nor our encounters with the Divine need to cease as well.
Next time: Creation as lynchpin.