Brian’s Reflection: Wednesday, February 16, 2011
All literature is political.
LeVar Burton [ Geordi, in Star Trek];
he was born on this date, 1957
Hello. My name is Brian, and I a Star Trek-aholic. [ I hope you all responded enthusiastically, “Hi Brian”!]
When Star Trek is on, I ignore all phone calls. I even lie to people to get back to the show.
Look. Star Trek understands Life - just as the New York Times does not: it has no cartoons!
Now. LeVar’s comment applies to the Bible. Yes, the Bible – and a lot of other “Scriptures”, including the Tanakh and the Qur’an. They are Literature, composed for various reasons by various people to promote various political views or agendas. The Tanakh (Hebrew Scriptures) were composed in their present form by the Hasmonean dynasty, founded by Judas Maccabeus, which ruled in Israel from c.167-37 BCE. The Gospels were composed, more accurately “redacted” or edited, by post-apostolic Christians in the 2nd to early 4th Cs in order to support the Literalist Christian Church against the Gnostics. And the Qur’an was composed in it’s final form as late as the 9-10th C by editors from the various collections of texts and “hadiths” (sayings of the Prophet). None of these texts were dictated to humans by God. So a large number of scholars agree.
And, as LaVar says, they are political in essence. They are being used to establish, or try to establish, one group in political and ecclesial power over another. It would horrify you to know what was done to destroy the Gnostic Scriptures and peoples, as would a reading of the meeting of the Council of Nicea in 325 CE.
Yet, the workings of the Mystery we call God is, I believe, at work in these Scriptures. They are the record of the experience of human beings struggling to find the meaning of Life within the confusing politics of the community, and of the community in conflict with others. The Holy Presence manages to seep through and, when it meets a heart open to the Truth, takes up residence. But it takes work! Hard work. It has to fight its way through enormous barriers, in the World and in us; and a Seeker has to work hard to open to the Mystery.
As you read, try to see through the politics. Discard all the political agendas. A glimmer of the Holy One and of the Peaceable Kingdom will reach out to you.