My faith journey is quite a bit like sewing — a bit of perceived progress here, a bit of seam ripping there. Your comments to Sunday’s post about the “Novelist as God” have spurred me to once again consider what I believe and why. I’ll leave it to poor or rushed writing, but I absolutely did not mean to infer that I don’t believe in the Bible. For the first time in my life, I’m regularly reading the Bible and trying to understand the foundations of my faith. That said, I lead a life of social justice-fueled faith — one where everyone (and I mean everyone) is loved by Christ. Everyone is eligible for forgiveness. Everyone is expected to treat each other with kindness and great love in return. I am incredibly lucky to have found a church that promotes and supports this way of thinking.
So, when the authors of the Bible say that I’m not equal, I bristle. One commenter astutely said the Bible isn’t politically correct. So true. The politics of the time were completely different. Can you imagine sharing your husband with your sister and raising your children together in one giant tent of disharmony? Leah and Rachel did, loving and envying each other their entire lives. Or sacrificing your first-born? Or wandering the desert for 40 years? (How about 40 minutes? I think I’d be exhausted.)
The truth is, my view of the Bible is no more right or wrong than anyone else’s. Faith is completely personal and my relationship with God is too. There are several tenants of faith I’m currently working on, including humility (not my strong suit), obedience (ever tried fasting? Not easy.) and not being judgmental. I’ve got a long way to go but I’ve yet to meet anyone who had it entirely figured out. That’s the beauty of this journey — it’s never-ending. We get to keep searching for understanding and meaning in a relationship with God as long as we are willing. It’s like one of those around-the-world plane tickets that never expires. Each new arrival is a land of exotic appeal with both happy and sad lessons to be learned.
Books that have changed and encouraged my view of faith include: “The Red Tent,” “Lamb,” “The Alchemist,” “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “The Poisonwood Bible,” “Blue like Jazz,” and what I’m currently reading, “The Irresistible Revolution.” I’ve got “Velvet Elvis” sitting on my nightstand ready for the next read. (And while we are talking about media and things I need to change? Oh, this move to cable is slowly sucking my brain dry. I can actually tell you quite a bit about the Kardashian sisters and why I like them. Time. To. Unplug.)