Above the fray
November 30, 2022
It is not easy some days to stay above the fray and avoid being consumed by events immediately surrounding us, particularly when they include current politics, economic realities and a cultural malaise that has been with us for some time. At street level, it can be draining to recognize and fend off what is debilitating in our everyday lives. Even when we recognize dysfunction for what it is, doing something about it is a whole ‘nother matter. A better perspective is not always possible nor available. Communications-wise, there is simply too much noise drowning out thought processes in ways that make us doubt our own principles.
An inspired example to the contrary shone brightly while inspecting the roof of the church building this past week. Wind had blown a hatch cover off the bell tower but it was still to be determined if the cover was merely ajar or whether it had taken flight and therefore necessitating a neighborhood search. The answer became clear with a small marvel of technology known as a drone. It ably performed a close inspection of the concerns as well as taking us on a small tour of the town from a height of several hundred feet. In spite of twenty mile-per-hour gusts, the small quiet lightweight quiet drone more than held its own and provided valuable information on what we faced regarding repairs. In took but a few moments to diagnose the roof concerns because of the different perspectives offered in in conjunction with a high resolution camera built into the drone.
When we determine that our perspectives are due for a tune-up, where do we go for feedback that can address our base concerns? As so-called Christians, it seems that simpler processes are called for … though not too simple. While scriptures are key to understanding the Christian faith, they are not the only word to be considered. To provide Bibles prompted by our evangelical DNA seems rather irresponsible and naïve to assume that somehow exposure is enough, especially for younger children.
It would be helpful in that regard to first develop an owner’s manual for every Bible that can guide minds young and old through the morass of theological perspectives it represents. God’s literal Word? A historical collection of inspired writings? A chronological record of whose we are and whom we are meant to be? An ethical/moral guide to life and living? A document used to scare a literal hell out of the reader? How is one to make sense of it if there is next to no guidance? We should be especially careful not to idolize scripture in ways that it becomes a golden calf. As a Hebrew Bible instructor frequently offered, “It’s complicated!”
When you are stymied in your faith, do not hesitate to seek different perspectives, not only in the locations you are comfortable, but also at three hundred feet with a stiff headwind. It can be dramatic and full of ah-ha moments, and more often than not, it will be about getting small bits and pieces to fall together in new ways that bring sense to past conclusions. “Do not be afraid” and “Do not fear” verses abound in the Bible. Can we apply the same to exploring the depths of scripture?