June 16, 2010

Reading the Gospels

It has been said - Brand new Christians who start reading the Gospels are usually looking for two things as they're turning the pages. They're looking for (1) stuff that makes them say 'woah' and (2) stuff they think they're supposed to start doing.

I'm also willing to bet - if you're the kind of Christian who takes themselves in for servicing once a week - that your preachers' sermons feature a lot of (1) and (2) as well. You're more likely to donate when they give you good woahs. You're more likely to stay involved when they convince you of things to be fervently doing (or not doing).

Woah's and supposed'tas are so common in Christendom, someone reading may even be asking, What else is there? Plenty.

We know that when Jesus was living out his late twenties in Galilee, he would go sit in Synagogue on the Sabbath. During the meeting, scripture would be read from, expounded upon, and discussed. After the meeting, Jesus would often go into a room by himself, close the door, and pray to his God there in secret. Doubtlessly, Jesus would also meditate on the scriptures he'd learned, there in secret.

Now, ask yourself this. Could we ever imagine that Jesus was thinking about the Old Testament scriptures and looking for (1) woahs and (2) gotta-dos? Can we imagine that was that HOW Jesus sought out, experienced and followed his Father, in Spirit, on Earth? We might imagine that, if that's what we ourselves had been taught about Christianity.

Here's a radical idea. Instead of reading the Gospels and looking for things that impress *us*, or things that affect *us*, what if we tried reading the Gospels and looking for things that impressed Jesus, and things that affected Jesus.

We might wind up with a better view of the Gospels as a testimony about Who He Is, rather than as a tool for conveying "what we believe".

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"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton