Lately, I’ve had several really great conversations with people and the focus has been on focusing on things that are important. I’ve decided to periodically write a post dedicated to some of the non-issues that trip us up and keep us from fulfilling our call to bring the kingdom of God. Here are some of the topics covered recently:
1. The Democrats’ scramble to put “God” in their platform.
There was a kerfuffle during the DNC when it was discovered that the actual word “God” was left out of the official platform and then there was an awkward vote of the delegates to put it back in. The audible voting was ambiguous but the outcome had already been decided so the will of the delegates wasn’t totally taken into account. “God” was put back in the Democrat’s official platform. Whew. Dodged a bullet there. We wouldn’t want to upset our super insecure, attention-seeking God by leaving God’s name out of our political documents. Haven’t we had enough hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires lately to know that God isn’t to be messed with?
Seriously, people. Who gives a s%*&? If this were truly that big a deal, there would be a hole in our Bibles where the book of Esther should be. You know that God’s name isn’t mentioned ONCE in the book of Esther, right? It was a controversial add to the final canon but made it in because it’s the story of God’s activity to rescue God’s chosen people. The Bible says that every good and perfect gift is from God. The Bible also mentions God’s concern for the poor over 2,000 times. My feeling is that if either political party does good things and takes care of the poor, they are doing God’s work, whether they say God’s name or not.
2. Creation – Six literal days?
This was part of a bigger conversation on the church fighting over things that don’t matter, but this conversation included a discussion on the creation story of Genesis 1 as an example. Did God create the world in 6 literal 24-hour periods with one literal 24-hour period of rest? Honestly, who gives a s&*%? Did God create the world? Yes. Were any of the people who feel so strongly about it there when it happened? No. Is the Bible a science book? No. God can do whatever God wants. If God wanted to create the world in six literal days, it could have happened. If God wanted to guide an evolutionary process over time, that could have happened too. Why is this an issue?
What I love about the Genesis 1 account of creation is what it tells me about God’s character. There’s a great parallel structure to the literature that tells me that God is creative and that God is all about taking empty things and filling them with life.
Day 1: separated light from darkness – Day/Night
Day 2: separated earth from sky
Day 3: separated land from water, filled land with plants, trees, flowers, etc.
Day 4: filled sky with sun/moon/stars
Day 5: filled sky and water with animals
Day 6: filled land with animals, created humankind
Day 7: Rest
Cool, yes? That’s all I need to know from Genesis 1.
3. Jesus said something about his wife.
On Friday, Harvard University mentioned a newly-discovered scrap of papyrus that reads “Jesus said, ‘My wife” and then it’s cut off from there. Hardly conclusive. Jesus said a lot of things and spoke in metaphors. He said to the woman at the well in Samaria, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me.” This could have been the beginning of any number of sentences.
“My wife makes a killer brisket”
“My wife is driving me nuts”
“My wife is anyone who is dedicated to my purposes”
“My wife forgot to wash my favorite tunic”
“My wife doesn’t exist”
There are a lot of possibilities for the end of that sentence. But even if Jesus were married, who give s s*&%? Culturally, it would have been very unusual if he hadn’t been married. The books we have in our canon don’t speak of Jesus being married so all we can do is speculate. Does that change anything Jesus said? No. Does it mean that he was any less the Son of God? No. It just doesn’t matter to me if Jesus was married or not. It’s a non-issue. Let’s move on.