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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fearless Life

In the past year a number of people have told me that I am fearless. My fearlessness seems to range from quilting to thinking, according to my observers. I have not thought of myself as fearless, rather committed to being the best I can be and to knowing the truth. My goals for my life that I have stated include: making a positive difference wherever I am, and going as far spiritually as I can in this lifetime. I suppose I am fearless in the quest of these two.

I was thinking about fearlessness in relation to sacred works such as the Bible. Recently there have been a series of shows on television from some people's Biblical point of view, supposedly representative of the scripture.

I have a problem with the shows. I was yelling at the television in just the first one. They added things, such as a conversation with Pharaoh's daughter telling Moses how he entered her family. They did not endeavor to explore any modern scholarship.

There is a group of people that think the Bible is literal in every sense. They deny scholarship, language, idioms, poetic license, editing over the ages and a huge number of other issues.

God is not delicate. We don't have to worry about upsetting Infinite Intelligence. God gave us   a portion of intelligence and so obviously expects us to use it. God wants us to know the truth.

Let's think about idioms for a moment, you know manner of speaking things. I'm in a pickle. Manny died on third base. It took forever to get to work today. If you take those statements literally, you will not understand the conversation. Just explore some of the idioms in the Bible and you will understand it better than if you take idioms literally. So one of the idioms was that pillar of salt meant a person had a stroke or heart attack (they didn't know the difference in the Bronze Age). Lot's wife, being so upset that she disobeyed had a heart attack and died on the spot. To me that is more meaningful than picturing a pillar of sodium chloride.

Jesus taught in parables. Psalms were poetic songs. Some of the stories predate the Bible and are woven from other older cultures. How can it all be literal? Yet it can all be deeply meaningful being what it actually is.

Archaeology and historical work have shown us some interesting things. For example, the Exodus was somewhere in the 1,300 to 1,200 b.c.e. time range. But the account was not written down until the 700's when the people were in Babylonian captivity. The boundaries of Egypt in the Exodus days included much of the Holy Land. The people 500 years later didn't know that and assumed the Egyptian borders were always where they were in the 700's. So if they were in Egypt and went to the Holy Land which was in Egypt, where did they go?

James the brother of Jesus was the person in the 1st century that guided the Jesus Movement. He was the one everyone went to in order to get clarification and direction. Paul was suspect as a Roman insider. Peter waffled. James who knew Jesus his entire life was the person people turned to. 

There is a lot of modern scholarship that is helpful in not destroying the Bible but in understanding it in the way that is more accurate and still deeply meaningful. There are fabulous books, programs. lecturers and magazines, the internet and more that can inform us and actually lead us to deeper faith than the simple, unthinking, silly literal position.

I am fearless in wanting to know the truth. I am fearless in the pursuit of excellence. I am fearless in working to make a difference. Join me. Be fearless with me. 

Perfect Love casts out all fear. Lord, fill me with Your perfect Love, casting out all remnants of fear in me. Lead me to live, hand in hand with You, fearlessly, vibrant, alive and fully engaged in the great spiritual quest upon which I have set my foot.

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