If you asked any conservative evangelical which is more important to them – Jesus or the Bible – of course they’re going to say Jesus.
But if you then asked them to quantify honestly how much more important Jesus is than the Bible to them… I’d love to hear their responses.
It seems to me that Christians almost deify the Bible, elevating it to a place with God, making it infallible, unquestionable, in much the same way that the same people accuse Catholics of worshipping Mary. Catholics I’ve spoken to say that they honour rather than worship Mary – maybe evangelicals would say the same thing about the Bible? But it can look like worship.
Anyway, this all brings me round to explaining that my doubts and uncertainties over sections of the Bible, questioning various aspects of it, have paradoxically strengthened rather than weakened my faith in Jesus.
Or, rather, that my increasing honesty over those doubts has strengthened my faith. Because faith, and relationship with God, thrive in an atmosphere of openness and truthfulness.
I very recently wrote about this more fully in ‘How’s Your Spiritual Depth-of-Field?’, using some photographic allegory! Ever heard of photographic allegory? I just made that term up.
It’d be awesome if you could give it a read and perhaps even let me know your thoughts and comments.
You’ll even get to discover what this beach post has to do with the blog post!
Publishing a post of this kind that challenges the Christian status quo carries with it certain trepidation and concerns.
How will it be received by my own friends and church leaders? Will it encourage their faith or create unnecessary and unwelcome threats to their beliefs? And, of course, what will they think of me as a result? How well will I cope with any rejection or disagreement (I’m not the most thick-skinned of individuals)?
‘How’s Your Spiritual Depth-of-Field?’ has so far attracted more likes, shares and positive comments and debate than any of my other blog posts to date, and looks set to run up more internet hits than any other post, revealing a resonance with many Christian friends and strangers.
The only real difference of opinion has been with a church leader / friend, and this was in a spirit of mutual respect and grace.
I suspect there may be others who have read and disagreed with what I’ve written, but out of grace (or fear of exposing their own doubts) have declined to comment.
What has all this shown? It seems to me that this array of responses has revealed….
… that there is a need for greater openness in our churches about our doubts and uncertainties.
… that there exists a great deal of grace and respect (in some churches, at least) to be able to cope with disagreement if we feel differently about, say, the historical accuracy of the Old Testament.
… that this deeper level of honesty would engender greater love for each other and greater faith in Jesus.
Did I mention that I’d love you to read ‘How’s Your Spiritual Depth-of-Field?’?
Roger (or ‘Roj’) and his wife Janine have 3 lively children ranging from teenager to toddler; he goes to work for a rest. A trained nurse, he’s in his ideal job, utilising his skills and passions by running a homeless healthcare service, and learns a lot from the people he works with, including the idea that God is more inclusive than people sometimes give him credit for. To let off steam, he runs reasonably fast around the hills of Hastings (England), where he lives. Now writing for We Occupy Jesus, he’s childishly enjoying being ‘Roj of WOJ’.