Brian’s Reflection: Friday, January 6, 2012
[ Feast of the Epiphany in the Christian Kalendar ]
A thorough knowledge of the Bible
is worth more than a college education.
President Teddy Roosevelt; he died on this date,
1919, at Oyster Bay NY, age 60
I mourn for the Bible every day. It died a long time ago, in my humble opinion ….. though there are still some who keep it’s memory alive and vibrant.
Actually, the Bible was murdered ….. by Literalism. Most of the early great Mothers and Fathers of the Church did not take the Bible literally, or at least did not understand the literal (so-called “factual”) level as being the heart and power of the Bible. Augustine, Origen, so many others, delved deeply into the metaphorical and symbolic and mythical meaning, and found there a connection to the great eternal Life-giving stories of humankind. But ….. as if so often the case ….. the lust for power intervened, and the 3rd and 4th C western Church ignored Jesus’ clear statement that His Kingdom was not of this World, and made the Church a worldly political power that still exists today in some quarters (and not just Christian), once described as “the ghost of the Roman Empire on a deathly throne”.
Think of the people in politics in America (and other places) today who profess Christianity. I can only describe their simpering drivel as appallingly shallow ….. as well as mean. If only Teddy’s spirit could arise today like a modern-day Marley and drag them off to garner a deeper understanding of the richness of the Bible by living in a community which strives to live the Gospel of Peace, of Justice, of Compassion, of Self-denial! Perhaps he would have had them Louie Crew’s course at Rutgers on “The Bible as Literature”!
Archeologists and historians have pretty much debunked all the literalist clap-trap of the Hebrew Bible - the factual existence of Abraham, Moses, etc, and the claims of the Jews having been given the Promised Land by “God”. And the same for Jesus and the trumped-up stories of who He was historically. And now we are finally getting back, slowly and only in some places, to the heart of it all: the great understanding that each and every human being in infused with the amazing, “divine” power of that greatest of all Mysteries: LIFE. “Ye are gods, sons (and daughters) of the Most High, all of you”, says the Psalm.
About time we started acting like it, don’t you think? We are all in this together ….. and we sink or swim together. Right at the moment we are on a sinking cycle ….. but I have great faith that God/Love will begin to ignite again in the human heart, in every “tribe and language and people and nation”.
I’m going to try my best to be a living witness of Holy Love. As my bumper sticker says, “God blesses everyone - No Exceptions” !
On this feast of the Epiphany, the Magi remind us that the star comes to rest in every human heart.