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Did you know I’m moving home in two weeks?  Two weeks isn’t very long to completely “finish” researching for my thesis…  I’m working my way down my outline systematically, tackling every point before moving onto the next.  I think this strategy might work.  In any case, when the time is up, it’s up.

Researching and writing about the imago Dei and the Trinity in light of gender should be rewarding.  And I think it is…  But at the same time, it makes me disenchanted with my faith.  And, of course, reading feminist writings reminds me that I believe in a religion that was communicated by men for men, historically.  Throughout most of the written record of the Bible, women were viewed as little more than property.  And this is the belief system I adhere to?  It’s discouraging, to say the least.

One way or another, I’ll pull through.  I’ll finish my thesis; I’ll graduate.

And then I’ll escape to Ecuador.

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I feel like something broke in me a few weeks ago.  And it just keeps breaking more and more.

But, unlike many times, this isn’t a good kind of breaking.  I’m not talking about when a wall breaks down or when our defenses break.  I’m talking about a belief in something or the capacity to believe in it.

And as much as I know, really know, not to base my faith on the humans around me who claim to have the same faith, I almost cannot help it at times.  So when I feel let down by every person around me who I previously did not think would/could let me down, there is a shift that occurs.  And when I read my Bible and realize the implications of my faith: that so many (the majority) of the world does not believe in what I believe is an exclusive faith, and thus will be reduced to the inevitability of hell, I wonder how it can be true.  I consider the attractiveness of a faith that leans toward or embraces universalism and open theism.  I wonder what I believe.

I find myself desiring more interactions with non-believers.  I want the freedom to consider ideas that I’m not allowed to consider within my faith.  I want the freedom to embrace that humans will let you down and have no higher calling which should, in many respects, help them avoid many of the ways they do let you down.

I’m tired of living in a world characterized by brokenness and with followers of Christ who remain just as broken, despite the presence of the Holy Spirit.  I’m tired of being broken myself.

And sometimes, I just can’t stand Christians.  The judgments, the duplicity, the refusal to be open and honest and real.  The holier-than-thou, the “I’m right, you’re wrong” attitudes.  I don’t want to be that, and I don’t want to be associated with it.

Part of this is the loneliness that I’m not sure I’m supposed to feel when I’m literally surrounded by those who are, in theory, supposed to be “brothers and sisters in Christ.”  If I’m part of a “family,” and my main social interactions are from seminary and church, why am I so alone?  Where are these people when I need them?

As I watch the rain come down, these are the questions I’m asking.  And I wonder if I will have any faith left by the time I am done here, or if I am merely grasping at straws for what isn’t actually there.

Why is female virginity connected to purity in the Bible but not male virginity?

I have no answers for this question.  I just know that in the Bible, it is an analogy that is made time and time again.  Purity as demonstrated by female virginity.

I want to be frustrated by it.  I want to feel its unfair.  It lends itself to the incorrect views by some men that female virginity becomes a requirement for women, but that men do not have to remain in the same state of purity.  That conclusion certainly isn’t supported by Scripture, yet…

Does anyone have an answer for this?  Maybe I’ll come across something when I do more studies on gender in the next year.  I might even have the opportunity to delve a bit into the topic of sexuality in the Old Testament.  But in the meantime, if you have thoughts, feel free to offer them.

I am practicing showing my heart instead of my walls.  And you know what?  It feels good.  I like feeling as if I can be happy, as if I can be real, as if I can be a bit more vulnerable.  I like feeling as if I don’t have to posture or pretend.  I want this to become normal for me, to become a habit instead of living out of bad habits.  I want to live in the love of Christ, fully.  I want to be the woman God created me to be.  And I think that day by day, I will come closer to that goal.

Since May, I’ve been reading my Bible (in English) almost every day.  This is the first time I’ve done that since I went to Bible College in 2003.  (Embarrassing, but true.)  I’ve been working on a read through the Bible in a year plan, but I started in 1 Samuel.  It’s been so good to be in the Word every day, to re-read familiar and unfamiliar words.  It feels relieving.

Reading the Bible in the original languages has also been a breath of new air.  Especially in Greek, as we’ve been working through Mark.  He’s so narrative, so relational… reading the text in Greek has made the colours brighter, the details to pop.  I feel like I’m in the story instead of just reading about it.  I am sure that as I become more proficient and comfortable with Hebrew, it will feel the same.

God has been doing some cool stuff in my life, and I like it.  It’s hard, but it’s so good.  Praise God for His infinite and new mercies, every day of my life.

[Side note: I read through Song of Songs today and recognized a bunch of verses that are used in children’s Sunday school songs, and I will never see them the same way again! haha]

I realized today that I have the most awesome healthcare plan ever.  It’s Biblical, even.

That is, I don’t have health insurance.

But if something terrible happens to me, I have a contingency plan: whatever needs dulling will be dosed with beer and wine, per Proverbs 31:6 “Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish!” (NIV)

Not bad, eh?

So, as I’m learning Greek, I’m realizing something.  I was led to believe for most of my life that when the Bible used the word “man” (and other such masculine words for types of humans), that it was just a generic way of referencing people.  But you know, that’s a lie.

There are words that mean humankind, people, and so on.  There are words that specifically mean the male gender and specifically mean the female gender.  Why didn’t the writers of the Bible feel like it would be a good idea to include females in their writings?  Why is so much of it so male-centric?  I’m beginning to understand the anger a lot of Biblical feminists have toward these texts.

Like in 1 John 2, where John writes specifically to “young men” and “fathers,” but not to young women or mothers.  Can I take the license to ignore those passages that ignore me?

Does  my own religion exclude me?

I’m at introvert at heart.  I need my alone time, and I need it daily.  I’ve even built into my daily schedule time in the morning and at night where it’s just me.  This ensures that I can have the emotional energy to be around people the rest of the day.

But as much as I can spend time by myself and be just fine, I find that if I’m alone without the option of having someone around, I get lonely.  Does that make sense?  I really only like to be by myself when it is by choice, not by circumstance.  For example, there is really only one person here that I spend any amount of time with, and her schedule is almost the opposite of mine this semester.  So on days like today, when she is at work and I am home all day, I kind of feel abandoned.  This is silly because I know I am seeing her tonight.  But it doesn’t change how I feel during the day.

I don’t remember feeling this way before undergrad.  But at Prairie, I lived in true community with my friends.  There was always someone to be with, someone to study with, to go out with, to experience life with.  I also had a group of friends there (The Family) that I spent most of my time with.  We made up slogans to bolster our togetherness: “The family that goes to the Post together, stays together,” and “The family that eats together, stays together.”  I really do think the second one has something to it.

Throughout the Bible and ancient cultures, you can see eating meals together as a very significant experience.  Eating meals together brings people together, shows goodwill, creates bonds.  I do not think I am overstating my case, but perhaps understating it.  Food plays an important part in most cultures and encounters.  Queen Esther, when she was going before King Xerxes, invited him to two banquets before presenting her case for the Jews.  Many of the Jewish celebrations are marked by meals.  Jesus introduced the Eucharist as part of the Passover Meal, and the early church celebrated it during meals for many years thereafter.  Paul spoke of these meals in 1 Corinthians when he chided the rich for eating the food (and partaking of the Eucharist also) before the poor could arrive.  Even celebrations today are frequently marked by partaking of food together, whether it be as simple as chips and soda or as elaborate as a five course meal.

I eat almost all of my meals alone.  And I feel very strongly that I am missing out on an essential part of community when I do so.  This is probably why I take the chance as often as I can to include others in my meals, to cook for them, to enjoy the company of someone other than myself.  So if you live where I live, and you want me to feed you (or to feed me), let me know.

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