To follow on from my last post, just as couples attend marriage seminars to help strengthen their bonds, as even the healthiest of relationships can often use tools of support, so I am taking some time over the next several days to read the literal words of Jesus in Scripture. In various translations in fact. You know; depending on the particular version of the Bible, it’s all that stuff written in red in the New Testament.
I don’t deny that there are negative aspects of any and all relationships. Couples get divorced. People have affairs. Bosses exploit their workers. Parents abuse their children. These, though, are readily accepted by society as exceptions to what should be the norm. These, as consensus would widely agree, are not the way these relationships should function.
The world makes a grand show of pointing up the atrocities done in the name of religion, especially Christianity, and then throwing that stained, rotten blanket of verdict indiscriminately over all of those who claim His name. “Christians do this…” “Christians think that…” And I can’t automatically dismiss them in their judgment because there are definitely those who fly under the banner of “Christianity” and say, and do, and think, those very things. Ugly things. Hurtful things. HATEFUL things.
Are they…us? Are they…Him?
I certainly don’t think so. Rather, these as well are exceptions to the norm. These are not the way our personal relationships with Christ should function.
But, where is my proof?
Then again, if we’re to travel that particular road, we should rightly see where it leads: What exactly IS Christianity? What does it mean to be a Christian? “A follower of Christ.” “Having accepted the claims of Christ.” What do those words, those phrases, even mean? What does following Christ entail? What ARE the claims of Christ? Am I truly, fully, aware of—let alone “following”—the teachings of the One in whom I am supposedly named after?
Thus my choices of reading as of late. A chance to revisit the source of my faith, the root of my relationship.
Yet I also know, as I’ve stated before, that the relationship I have with Jesus is a deeply personal one; one that I find hard, at times, to proclaim.
Because, in the end, it doesn’t come from a book.
It comes from fifteen years or more of calling, accepting, rejecting, growing, stumbling, rejoicing, resisting, being amazed, being pissed off, being in awe, being deeply frustrated.
In other words, being immersed in a relationship.
So what of the book? The book is a tool. The book is a roadmap. The book is an owner’s manual, a maintenance guide. So, as I said at the beginning, just as couples attend marriage seminars to help strengthen their bonds, as even the healthiest of relationships can often use a variety of tools for support, so I am taking some time over the next several days to read the literal words of Jesus in Scripture. As tools of support. As maintenance. As a roadmap.
This isn’t rocket science. In fact, it’s not science at all. It’s a relationship.
It’s not quantifiable. It’s love. It’s not provable. It’s faith.
Maddeningly, there are often no words.
Thankfully, there is still, often, understanding.
“He who has an ear to hear, let him hear.”