I have a long and very complex relationship with the Bible. I was raised on it. I’ve read it through more than once. It was the code I had once promised to live by.
The problem is, the Bible never presents itself as a code. It never presents itself as a sacred infallible text. It’s just a book, like the Qur’an, Pride and Prejudice and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Some of the stuff in the Bible is awesome. Like, mind-blowingly awesome. The Sermon on the Mount. Many parts of the Prophets. The Gospels. But it’s not perfect. There are factual and ethical errors strewn about it. It claims the earth is 6,000 years old. And that’s just stupid. It commands parents to stone disobedient children. And that’s just fucked up. It records God’s command to commit genocide, rape and infanticide right alongside his commands to love and forgive.
When we suggest that the Bible is infallible, we force ourselves into a dangerous corner and end up submitting even to its darkest and most hateful sides. Sides that suggest there is blessing for murdering babies of a certain ethnicity (Psalm 137:8-9)
Useful book. But not something to build your life on.
So, I might have called Mark Driscoll an asshat in my last post.
My wife pulled me aside this morning to ask about that. You see, I’ve always been irate when people throw around derogatory words for folks who disagree with them. I didn’t like hearing it at the time, but I think she was right when she suggested I was out of line.
This blog is a place for me to be honest, yes. But not careless. I don’t really think Mark Driscoll is an asshat. I’m sure any hats he owns are very nice and not ass-like at all. But I do think the picture of God he worships is fucked-up.
When I was a Christian, I had this idea that humans had a deep, primal urge to worship. Sometimes, I still think we do. I used to worship Mark Driscoll’s hip, calvinist God. Now, I think I’d much rather worship my wife.
Top Ten Reasons why my wife is more worthy of worship than Mark Driscoll’s God:
- Mark Driscoll’s God (let’s call him Theos) brings most people into existence for the sole purpose of inflicting never-ending misery on them in hell. And then he has the gall to turn around and say it’s their own fault for being in the wrong religion. My wife, on the other hand, brings her children into existence for the sole purpose of lavishing every good thing on them that she can muster.
- Theos demands that his people serve him fully and sacrificially, threatening punishment for failure. My wife would rather serve people, sharing whatever blessings she has with everyone freely.
- Theos rejects you when your opinions about him are out of line with how he’d like you to think about him. My wife doesn’t care what you think of her, she loves anyway.
- Theos is a big, fear-mongering authoritarian father-figure. My wife is a soft, gentle mother. A sustainer and a creator, rather than a punisher or authority.
- Theos demands obedience before he offers life. My wife gives life and nurturing aid regardless of how her children act.
- Theos demands that you worship and admire him. My wife just wants to love, and whatever happens after that is alright with her.
- Theos gazes deep into my every action, calling all my struggles and good attempts filthy rags and useless works. My wife accepts every weak and fumbling offering of love I give her and even transforms them into greater things through her own love.
- Theos promised that if I served him, he’d grant me ravishing joy. He lied. My wife made no promises. But she ravishes me daily, without asking for a thing in return.
- Theos encourages me to fight against the reprobates he created, using every bit of religious malice I can muster. My wife gently asks me if I was right to call a cruel man an asshat.
- Theos claims I cannot see his face and live (Ex. 33:20). My wife’s face and body and words and spirit give life.
If Theos were a real person, we’d hate him. Hell, we’d probably throw him in prison. My new religion is love. And my wife is love’s Devi. The mother-wife goddess, restored from mankind’s oldest religions, called back from a time when we recognized the miracle of birth and nourishment.
All praise to the Devi. May her love cover the earth as the waters fill the sea.
While living in Pakistan, I noticed that many of the old-school tribal dudes wore awesome undershirts with intricate embroidery on them. I snatched a couple for myself before heading back to Canada.
I was wearing one under my shirt this past weekend at my family’s holiday gathering thingy. As the night wore on and the games grew intense and the wine flowed more freely, one of my relatives noticed the embroidery at my collar and wanted to see the shirt. I took my overshirt off.
Then they all started to laugh at me.
The embroidery was in the shape of a heart. They were laughing at the heart.
Because hearts are for girls, of course. Men don’t wear hearts. Men don’t do that love stuff.
I was surprised. Not upset, not sad, just seriously shocked. It’s not masculine to wear hearts? Not manly to express love? I guess I always knew that. I guess that horrid idea had been already hammered into my head since I was a child.
Is it any wonder things are fucked up when we mock men for wearing hearts and cheer when they come home with a new SUV or hunting weapon? Is it any wonder things are fucked up when the section for boy’s toys is filled, aisle after aisle, with fake weapons and scenes of battle and death?
No, it’s no wonder at all.
We won’t get anywhere while it’s unmanly to love. We won’t get anywhere while asshat pastors like Mark Driscoll shit on men who they don’t think are manly enough.
We won’t get anywhere while it’s more manly to kill than it is to love.