Thursday, March 24, 2005

Calico

I want to be stranded on an island with a man who hates all that he knows of Jesus, and refuses all interaction with the church as he sees it. I don't particularly want this because I am a sucker for a good outdoor experience (although I am). I want to know a person. I want to know at a deeper level the truth of unity in difference.

I hear from two of my dearest friends things that hurt deeply. Statements of errant Scripture, belief in the uselessness of much in the current church. I am sure that my communication is flawed, so I will not say much about this beyond what I have said (I'm sure I'll hear Hell from then anyways, hopefully with Heaven hidden not-too-deep underneath). I do want desperately to speak in a moment of passion before it is gone.

I will always remember a man named Dave from New Orleans. I met him on Bourbon Street. He told me that the middle of the Bible was Psalm 118. The chapter before it is the shortest in the bible. The chapter after it is the longest. He told me that there were near the same number of chapters before and behind it (595 and 593, respectively). Dave was homeless, slightly drunk. Travelling around with his friend (or wife, I'm not sure). I think her name was Nancy. But she was the purest expression of joy I've ever seen. I wish I could describe it so you could understand. Joy literally poured from her like a life-giving water. I could only understand once I was willing to accept it. She danced to music that I played even though I didn't know how to play it. She kissed my on the cheek because I gave her my necklace (a trinket of no value in my mind). She was ever grateful. Dave was ever loving. They were the most beautiful people I have ever seen, dirty, drunk, and ragged - and so beautiful.

Needless to say it was a humbling experience being schooled by Dave in the Bible. I am grateful for it. I say this to say that such was one of my experiences in finding grace in dark places, but that is what God's grace is for. Violently earned, freely given, it is medicine to the sick. In the light of such things, I find debates about Scripture to be, as for a great deal of them, moot. Those of us who are given to embracing thought that is counter to the 'system' are in danger of contradicting ourselves in our desire to slake an incessant thirst for contradiction. We have an unhealthy interest in quarrels and laws (though they might be of a different kind, they are still laws). I know that every time I drink in the Bible, I am brought closer to Love. I know that there are songs and stories and movies that do the same thing, but we must balance all against Scripture. I will not be brought to addressing whether Scripture is fallible or not. I don't know. I was not there when it was written. God was. I am not there when others read it. God is. I do know that I am fallible, and God uses me. Jesus body was as human as mine. It was beaten to a tattered mound of flesh. And God used it. The divine fingerprint is making riches of rags. By our Love will we be known, not by our ability to rage against the other parts of the Body, which we call a 'system' in order to delude ourselves into the ability to hate without conviction of sin.

By our Love shall we be known. By our refusal to abandone our own flesh and blood of humanity. Our patches make us like Dave and Nancy. We are dirty and drunk and beautiful.

1 Comments:

and Blogger Jared addressed the Senate...

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10:04 AM, March 26, 2005  

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