Saturday, January 19, 2013
Putting Away Childish Things
When I began reading Borg (Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time) I needed something to off-set the questions that I had of Scripture, Theological History and strident claims that many of the right-wing were making of faith. I had never believed in the concept of Redemption as a principle of faith. And the God that I knew would not condemn humanity to Original Sin but there were great theologians who were still thumping Augustine and other 5th century theologians to maintain their theological house of cards. And the one thing that kept my card house standing was that I had had enough experience of the Holy One that nothing could destroy it. His reasoning and his solid scriptural underpinnings helped me to entertain new structures for a new age. And it has changed my life. My faith is stronger and less accreted with fairy tales and more solidly built on the wonderful relationship I have with that ineffable Goodness that is both within and without me that, for want of a better word, I call God.
Being somewhat of a history buff, I can appreciate the need for different eras to define what it means to have faith. But long before I knew of Borg's work, I knew that believing and having faith were two separate things. Belief was a cognitive expression. Faith has always been a relationship in which trust was at the center.
Cognitively I can say that I believe that Jesus of Nazareth lived. His life was unique enough for people to have been moved by him to know the Holy. I believe that he embodied the Holy better than his era had ever seen before and therefore many stories were told about him. Some were true; some were exaggerations. I do not have a problem with that. Hyperbole is part of the human condition. But through his teaching he helped change the way people of faith experience the world.
The other cognitive thing that I know is that the Holy can be experienced. It is not something that can be quantified. It is not something that can be even well described. But it too can change peoples' lives. It cannot be proved. All I know is that it is that experience of the Holy/Divine/Goodness/God is what gets me up in the morning and makes life rich and full each day. Sometimes I experience that Holy One in the person of Jesus; sometimes I know it through the Spirit. Sometimes I know the Holy One as a Warrior Goddess, El Shaddai, who defends me against the things that well up in my heart. At times I know the still small voice that Ezekiel heard after the whirlwind and I too cover my face at Its presence.