Reading the Bible with my Glasses Off

i feel my{self} disengaging  #365days #365daysof31 #tajselfie #tajmagic

I am starting to read the Bible again.

I'm not sure if I told you that I'd stopped.  But I did.  Every time I'd open those gold-trimmed pages, I'd come across a string of words that would make my stomach swoop with nausea.  The kinds of words that abusers use to excuse their abusive actions.  I couldn't read God's word without it pouring salt into my deepest wounds.  Which made me think a lot of scary thoughts about God.

So I closed my Bible.  Walked away.  Looking for the holy in other texts, with other ways of seeing.  It hasn't even been that long of a sojourn.  But to my soul it's felt deep and far.

And now . . . I find myself staring at those Words again.

The abusive-sounding words?  They are still there.  They are still knife-edged, still grinding salt into pulverized flesh. 

But something is changing in me, I think.  I think.  (i hope.) 

I used to come at the Bible hard, looking for absolutes.  But now . . . it's all feeling a lot more fluid.   Less about the bottom line, or the party line.

deep inhale... #365days #365daysof31

I used to squint and frown and peer at the wispy pages, and now it's more of a letting go.  I try to let my eyes unfocus and read what's in between each line, what images shimmer beneath the garish and clumsy Sunday school pictures that my brain has paired with the verses.

I am mining for mysticism, for the divine not-knowing.  Scouring the familiar text for the sacred mystery that is the holy trinity.

Because if we are talking about the God who made everything -- our sticky innards and infinite glimmering galaxies and the Moeraki Boulders and my sweet son's eyelashes -- the pat answers and biblical cartoons painted in limited colors are soul-killingly wrong.  If we are talking about the God who made all life, uncountable everyday miracles, then the safe and santized way we (I) approach faith in the American church is cutting off our air.  If this is the God that we're talking about, if this master creator of a God is real . . . then the banal, Caucasian Jesus that I've constructed from my Bible reading and church going and do-gooding is devastatingly wrong.

I've been worshiping a Jesus of cardboard and glue, when really he is cosmic and wild and tastes of metal and smoke and wood.  He smells of sweat and dirt, lilacs and rain -- but that's not what I read in the Bible.

I really love having ink on my skin. it feels like a map. #365days #365daysof31  

I'm starting to think that maybe the Bible got some things wrong.  It's written by people, after all, and so the Word of God is filtering through ancient patriarchal synapses and styluses and two thousand swirling years of translation and opinion and editing.  But the heart of the message is as the sun's filigree warming my skin and the night doming wide and deep above me -- solid and great and majestic and mysterious.  It's in there, in the Bible, but it's paired with a whole lot of humanity.

So I let my vision go a bit blurry so that I can see Jesus through my baggage, through the writers' baggage.  And I am beginning to make out the edges of a form that is visceral and ecstatic and muscled and bright.   

This is Jesus at last, I think.  This is Who I have been seeking.  This is the Jesus I can and want to love and honor and talk with and worship and and ask forgiveness from and bow before and give my whole self to.  

He's not safe.  He won't live in my boxes.  But he is good.  I believe this. 

The questions are leading me Home.

I miss God. #iamthrashing #365days #365daysof31 #tajselfie

* * * 

If you are interested in exploring the dark places of faith, God, and mysticism, this upcoming new ecourse might be just what your soul is crying out for:

I may have just died of happiness. #thewildmystics

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