Isn’t it peculiar how we can use the Bible to prove whatever we want, all with the apparent blessing of God? Racism? Check. War? Check. Patriarchy? Check. It’s like we can tailor Christianity to what feels right…to us. All we need to do is pick and choose which verses and passages to emphasize.
This clip from The West Wing shows our folly:
It’s easy to pick and choose when we primarily view Christianity as a set of ideas to believe and conform to. This is the dark side of the Enlightenment, where “I think therefore I am” became our very way of seeing reality. Is it any wonder why we have thousands of Protestant denominations? We’re mostly cutting and dividing reality based on what we think.
Jesus is the Word made flesh. He is the sum total of all “ideas” made into a person, and he invites us to follow him. Following Jesus is much harder than just believing our ideas. The reason it’s hard is that Jesus holds together opposites that threaten to break us to pieces. We’d rather not follow, because somehow we know that following him means crossing a line past our ability to see. This is the very essence of faith, which is, by definition, a dark road.
It’s dark because we’re unskilled at using the eyes of our heart. We prefer to see via mental understanding, in which we’re so highly trained by culture and church. It’s only through great love that we’ll move to our heart, or through great suffering, where we’re forced to fall into a deeper way of seeing to survive. To say it another way: it’s only when we’re blinded by love, or pain, that we really begin to see.