The story that gave us God

There’s a difference between
the Bible
and the Gospel…

Between biblical words
And THE Word.

Before Jesus came around, people had a hard time
getting an idea of how God acted in the world.

I mean, the divine is eternal,
but God was mostly an abstract concept
born from projections of their egoic false selves
(and since men had control of the pen in Jesus’s day,
mostly a male projected false self),
so they had to kinda guess.

Much of the time, their god
looked a lot like them
on their worst days. 

So the Bible is full of ‘god’ acting like
horribly tortured people act
when they feel threatened.

You get a lot of this
when you read the Bible
(both Old and New Testament).

It’s because of this god of projection and abstraction
that it seems God had to enter human flesh
in a very physical and bodily way.

To show us that God’s nature
is nothing like an insecure, frightened,
fragile, warring king,
an estranged father,
a doting grandfather,
or a Santa Claus figure.

In Jesus, we see God’s true nature
(which is present
in both the Old and New Testament as well).
After all, it’s not God who changed
with Jesus’s birth.
It’s our perception of God
that was brought into focus
with Jesus’s birth, life, death,
and resurrection. 

In Jesus, God didn’t enter the world
as a powerful king on high
hell-bent on punishing transgressors.

No…

This almighty God
this creator of the universe
came into human form
in a loving tiny home shared with animals
to a young and confused couple
before fleeing their homeland as refugees.

He lived his life studying his tradition
(our ‘Old Testament’ was his Bible),
working odd construction jobs
and learning theology from the village elders
before realizing that he embraced
the full power of the divine.

He found out that he could heal people,
do some cool miracles,
even bring some dead people
back to life.
This got people’s attention,
but miracle workers were a dime a dozen
in his day.

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He started going on long solo wilderness expeditions
without his cell phone
where he slept under the stars,
communed with the birds,
and started to realize
that he didn’t come
to solve problems
through miracles or dominance
or any feat of power or strength, really.

He started telling people to not tell anyone
about those miraculous deeds
(though he could never really turn down
someone in need of healing…
or a new life).

He started his traveling ministry
bankrolled largely by women, some say.
When he came to town, he’d visit the saloon
to get a feel for the area
who was in, who was out, etc. 
They called him a drunk and a glutton.
Typical.

Wherever he was,
he’d go straight to the most despised
Could be a king or an adulterer
or a tax collector or a colonizer
a leper, a pauper, or a demoniac…
not to tell them to get their stuff together
and get into God’s good graces;
but to tell them that
God is coming for them
That the Kingdom of God is near.

In his eyes, they knew it was true.
God was looking at them
through those very eyes.

But the way he’d rescue them
wasn’t how you and I might rescue them
with money or muscle or manpower.

In Jesus, God came to die
to our right-handed ways of dominance
in order to show us
that punishment and force
can never uphold God
or save us.

Rather, it turned out
our damning and legalistic ways
could only kill God
and leave us stranded. 

But that’s not the end of the story…

Because in his death,
as he hung on that torture device,
(not God’s punishment, btw)
he forgave us. Like, really.
Not one of those passive-aggressive
forgiveness moves
that I do.

This was true forgiveness.
Divine forgiveness.

And a few days later
he rose from the grave
to show us that God is eternally bigger
than death.

This is what brings the Bible to its
full crescendo. 

When we see the movement in the Bible
from God seeming far away
to God entering human flesh,
showing us how God actually is,
dying to our dysfunctional ways,
and giving us a new way to relate to God
a new way to be human.

In other words,
a new life.