Archive for September, 2022

second half of life stuff

September 14, 2022 8 comments

What is God doing in the Scripture really? With that question in mind, I want to give you an operative principle, which, I believe, had it been used in the last 500 years, would have ensured a much more exciting and positive Christian history. If you’re meditating on a Bible text, Hebrew or Christian, and if you see God operating at a lesser level than the best person you know, then that text is not authentic revelation. “God is love” (1 John 4 16), and no person you meet could possibly be more loving than the Source of love itself. It is as simple as that. You now have a foundational hermeneutic (interpretive key) for interpreting all Scripture wisely. Literalism is the lowest and most narrow hermeneutic for understanding conversation in general and sacred text in particular.

Haven’t you read text and not know what to think? See, for example, where Yahweh presumably tells the Israelites to kill every Canaanite in sight—men, women and children—and then imposes a ban on every pagan town, telling the Israelites to enter, burn, and destroy everything in sight (as in Joshua 6—7). Do you really think that God is talking? I don’t think so. They have created God in their own image instead of letting God re-create them in his image.

“Well,” you say, “it is in the Bible, and that makes it true and right.” That is why we have to use a whole different lens for interpreting any authoritative text. How we deal with sacred texts is how we deal with reality in general. And how we deal with reality in general is how we deal with sacred text. And both reality and all sacred text are also fragmented and imperfect (1 Corinthians 13:12). It takes a certain level of human and spiritual maturity to interpret scripture. Vengeful and petty people find vengeful and hateful text (and they are there, but some find them even when they are not there)! Loving and peaceful people will hold out until a text resounds deep within them (and there are plenty there!). In short, only love can handle big truth.

+Adapted from the webcast “A Teaching on Wondrous Encounters”


That is why we have to use a whole different lens for interpreting any authoritative text. How we deal with sacred texts is how we deal with reality in general. —Richard Rohr OFM


It takes a fairly big investment of years, time, concentration, openness, and honesty to come into agreement with what Rohr is suggesting here. I’m not sure you can just start here. It might even be the second half of your life before you’re even willing to consider that this might be true. Honestly, it is much easier to just swallow what your pastor says (or church teaches) and live inside literalism. I’ve been there, and I know it uncomplicates (to a certain extent) where one might stand. But there are a million collisions with life that requires us to back up and contemplate what the deeper… more inherent truth might be (besides a chapter and verse response). What more aligns with the true nature of the Triune God? I say it all the time, biblically versed individuals (especially literalist) can be some of the meanest, nastiest, judgmental, and life-sucking people walking on this planet. Even Jesus asked us to live in a way and do things that are next to impossible to do without a serious download of Spirit and deep character development (i.e. love your neighbor as yourself). Ask yourself: What reflects Jesus and the goodness of God? In my estimation… that’s the better place to start. —MDP

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