December 04-B, 2022

Cane River Sunset 08/04/2006 Oil Paint Rendered — Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana
The Bible is great for its supply
of metaphors for the spiritual life,
but it falls apart in that they are all
presented as facts to be believed.

They are symbols to be embraced
and explored.

And have to be reclaimed as such,
received as such,
resurrected as such.
In that way,
we bring them to life
and they bring us to life,
and the entire cosmos
is thereby brought to life.

The church needs to wake up to its task,
and stop talking about the Bible
as literally true,
and start mining its metaphors
as the treasures they are.

For instance, where has the Garden of Gethsemane 
come to life for you in your life?

It is a part of every transition point
in all of the stages of human development.
The agony of growing up.
The dilemma of giving up this to have that.
The trade-offs that demand
our metaphorical death
and result in our metaphorical resurrection.

The work of being human
is the work of balancing Yin and Yang.
This is the essence of the Garden of Gethsemane
(And the metaphor for the failure of that work
is the Garden of Eden--they are the same garden
with different lessons,
different outcomes).

The entire Bible is about us.
To be read by us
as a mirror reflecting how it is with us
at various points along the way
to the way,
of the way.

The bread of affliction
is the bread of life.
The cup of suffering
is the cup of salvation/restoration.

Everybody of every age
in the history of the world
understands these things,
and the Bible has to be understood in this way.

The church finds itself and is saved
by that which has failed to apprehend
all these years.

The stone the builders reject
is--and always was--the chief cornerstone.
The pearl of great price
was a part of the jeweler's collection
of costume jewelry from the start

They held the key to reading
the unfolding of the path
and thought it was a tale
about someone else's path--
and missed the journey that was theirs,
and kept others off the voyage that was theirs,
and no one was better off for it,
no, not one. 


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

3 thoughts on “December 04-B, 2022

    1. And that is precisely our Garden of Gethsemane struggle: “Thy will not mine be done,” when the “Thy” is the simple truth of our own being asking to be recognized and taken seriously in living truthfully with ourselves, our self.

      Liked by 1 person

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