words and Words

A fellow blogger had some fascinating comparisons to make between Jesus, The Word of God, and scripture which is words from God.

Specifically, he observed that Jesus had to lower himself to enter the world through mundance circumstances, and so, to did the scripture.  Both worked through limited, flawed, ordinary folks to be “born.”

This got me to wondering about other points of comparison.  Perhaps I’m stretching here, but:

Jesus, of course, was always divine.  However, after his crucifixion and resseruction this true nature was much more apparent.

In a similiar way, the truth of scripture is within it.  But the truth– the divinity– of  scripture is not apparent to everyone.

An important difference between Jesus and the bible is that nothing happens to the bible itself to make its meaning clear.  The transformation happens too us, and in us.

But the original meaning of scripture must die to us, if it is to be reseructed.


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The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

3 thoughts on “words and Words”

  1. “Jesus, of course, was always divine. However, after his crucifixion and resurrection this true nature was much more apparent.”

    Not so. Yes, He is always divine because He is God. After His crucifixion and resurrection, in what way is His true nature more apparent? Certainly not to the world, which denies that the latter even happened, and mocks the former in every imaginable way. While alive in His human body, His divinity was hidden, even in spite of the miracles, except to those to whom the Father chose to reveal it. Now that He has ascended to the right hand of Divine Majesty, and is no longer visible to our eyes, it is even less apparent to the world that He is God. Some even doubt that He was a historical person!

    “In a similar way, the truth of scripture is within it. But the truth–the divinity–of scripture is not apparent to everyone.”

    True, the bible contains a written record of the Truth, and its divinity is not apparent to everyone. Especially to those who do not read it, but more surprisingly, even often to those who do read it. I wonder sometimes how Christians who say they believe the bible is infallible and true and holy can still treat the physical book with such dishonor. These are the same people who paste stickers with the divine Name—Jesus—on the rear ends and on the bumpers of their cars.

    “An important difference between Jesus and the bible is that nothing happens to the bible itself to make its meaning clear. The transformation happens to us, and in us.”

    By this, I suppose you mean that the bible was not put to death on a cross and then came back to life on the third day. Even though Jesus did those things, that is not what made the meaning of His divinity clear. “Blessed are those who believe and yet have not seen” the resurrected Christ. I think I understand what you mean by saying that “the transformation happens to us, and in us,” but you are still not saying anything about the bible that makes sense.

    It has always been by faith that one has looked upon the man Jesus Christ and confessed that He is God. “Blessed are you, Simon Peter, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you.”

    It has always been by faith the one has picked up the volume of the book called the Holy Bible and confessed that it is no mere book, but the written image of the Word of God.

    Once again, it seems to me that though we both confess Christ, we probably don’t even mean the same thing by confess, let alone believe or understand. It amazes me how wide the gap has become between Orthodox Christianity and the modern expression of “the faith once delivered to the saints.”

    Finally, you wrote “But the original meaning of scripture must die to us, if it is to be resurrected.”

    That is what I meant by writing that “we don’t even mean the same thing by confess, let alone believe or understand.” I haven’t the foggiest idea what you mean here.


  2. Thanks for asking these questions. I guess I wasn’t very clear.

    “in what way is His true nature more apparent?” Mostly, I was thinking about the resseructed Christ as he appeared to the disciples before the asencsion. He much more regularly engaged in activities that appeared supernatural, after the crucifixtion.

    I wasn’t thinking that it’s more clear to us, 2000 years later, that he’s God. Though I can see how you might think that based on my words.

    “Even though Jesus did those things, that is not what made the meaning of His divinity clear.”
    I wouldn’t suggest that the crucifiction made the meaning of his divinity clear, in that it’s one thing to say that Jesus died and it’s another thing entirely to explain why it is that he died.

    However, I would suggest, as I stated above, that Jesus’ appearances after his death on the cross made the fact of his divinity clear: To know that Jesus defied death, walked through walls, disapeared, was at first unrecognizable to those who knew him in his earthly life… all these events, they don’t easily convey a specific theology. But they do communicate the fact that there is something bigger than has ever gone on before, they do communicate the fact that Jesus is God.

    What you say about the role of faith in identifying Jesus as God, this is important. However, I think if I saw Jesus die a brutal death, and then I saw him back, I’d have a much easier time than before His death.

    I think that the only essentials, the deepest spirit of a confession in Christ is that he is God and that he died to atone for my sins so that I can stand in a right relationship to God. Is this what you mean by confessing Christ?

    As for the meaning of scripture dying to us: I suppose again, I should have been more clear.
    What I was thinking about is what Scripture meant to me before I confessed Christ. There are things I agreed with. There are things I disagreed with. But most of all, there are things I simply could not have understood.

    I had to let go of all this, I had to let it die to me, in order to be penetrated by the deepest truths.

    Does this make any more sense to you?


  3. Well, actually, no; though I of course respect you for trying to make your meaning clearer. As I said, there is a very wide semantic divide between us. Not trying to make divisions wider, but simply to acknowledge they are there, as I have in the past. The environment of Orthodoxy is the scriptures permeating every aspect of our lives, and when we are Orthodox, our thinking is molded by that environment. The environment of whatever it is you are into as a faith community is very far from Orthodoxy. Thanks for your response to my comment.


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