Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Trusting Truth

In life we often say that something is untrue when it doesn't make sense. A child tells a story and we look at them with a sideways grin and say, "Well honey, that doesn't make any sense. Please tell Mommy the truth."

In our world when something is honest, right, shows integrity, or is trustworthy - the story, facts, details, and ideas usually fit together in a moral, scientific, or reasonable way. This is the kind of truth we can understand. For example: If the cookie jar is empty, it makes sense that little Bobby stole the last of the goodies when his parents weren't looking. It makes less sense (or seems untrue) to say that the dog jumped up on the counter, learned how to take the lid off the jar, devoured the last cookie, put the lid back on, and jumped back down without anyone seeing it. The doggie excuse seems even more unlikely when Bobby has had a history of snitching from the cookie jar.

As I ponder the idea of truth-telling, I'm re-reading the entire Bible this year. Last year I read it from the NIV Chronological Bible, this year I'm reading straight through Eugene Peterson's "The Message." My hope was that by reading a modern paraphrase of Scripture, it would make more sense. Fascinating stuff the Bible. And also quite unbelievable. I've come to the conclusion that no matter the translation, the Bible doesn't make much sense. God asks people to do ridiculous things. God's people act in grotesque ways (even when witnessing and experiencing God's miracles for themselves). Miracles, yep, those are pretty unbelievable too. I often find myself wondering why I chose Christianity as my religion. So much of the Bible and it's stories seem silly. As a follower you have to decide what is real and what is metaphorical, what is supposed to apply to ancient culture and what is relevant for today. You have to know history and context. It helps if you know Greek and Hebrew. You can go a bazillion different ways when deciding on "correct theology." To read the Bible is to find yourself tromping around Jericho for seven day blowing a horn, screaming at the top of your lungs, and watching a city wall crumble before your eyes. ( I just finished Joshua last night.) It means you believe God loves all people, but that at times He asks a chosen few to wipe out entire nations. Believing the Bible is hard, messy, frustrating work. Belief sometimes comes at a cost. The cost of understanding. There are many things about God I simply don't understand. I vacillate between wanting this Book to make sense and feeling at peace that God's story is so complex.

So silly as I am, I'm a Christian. I try to follow Christ. I choose to believe that Jesus was the son of God. I choose to believe that God does love and value all people. I choose to trust that God tells the truth even when the truth is incomprehensible.

Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. 
Psalm 25:5

No comments:

Post a Comment