Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Wheel Does Not To Be Reinvented, But It Could Be Re-imagined.

"I'm here to give you the opportunity of a lifetime. You, yes you, can own the latest and greatest wheel ever designed. We made it more aerodynamic. We gave it a sleeker appearance and better ability to roll."

Sound like any number of things you might have heard before?

We tend to like things that are new and shiny and dazzle the senses. And truth be told, new isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes new can be fairly good.

Let's try to imagine for a moment that the inventor of the wheel tried a few different designs in order to move the sabretooth carcass across the hunting ground. He might have tried a triangle shape and discovered it didn't work too well. Maybe he tried a square shape next. Still was too cumbersome. Then, through trial and error, he discovered that round works pretty well. So, he started chiseling out of stone a round shaped wheel, and soon he was the envy of his

For years, stone wheels worked very well. They could be made by chiseling stone and carts could be made from them. But to make the wheels was a long drawn out process, and soon it was evident that, though the design was good, there was nothing wrong with it the physical shape or structure, it wasn't exactly economical. It was too labor intensive to make.

Then one day in the future, someone discovered that wood could be formed into a wheel as well. And wooden wheels became the rage. They too were found on carts, and even crossed vast plains and high mountain ranges under the truest definition of horsepower. There seemed to be no end to the possibilities of the wooden wheel.

That was of course until someone decided they could harvest the power of steam and create a roadwork of metal rails. Wooden wheels, for all their glorious past, finally found something that they just couldn't handle.

So wheels began to be made out of metal as well. They stayed on the rails better. They could take the punishment and the weight of the steam engine and the load they were hauling much better than their wooden counterparts. There was still a place for the old, but it wasn't what it used to be.

Metal wheels had a good run as well, and in fact in some applications are still quite useful. But, like their ancestors, they too had a shelf life. As the automobile was developed and roads became paved in order to make for a smoother, more efficient ride, neither metal or wooden wheels would be suitable. At least not by themselves. So, a product named rubber was developed. And now it is quite a common sight to see rubber on the roads.

So what's the point of this? Well, this week I was invited to see the book of Acts in a way that I just never had before. Right from the beginning of the book, the disciples held some truths very dear: one of them was that Jesus really lived, He really died, and He really rose from the dead. This wasn't a matter of speculation for them, this was reality. In fact, He was who they still sought advice from even though He wasn't there physically with them, and this leads me to another truth that was very real to them: scripture spoke of Jesus and had relevance for their situation. There was no debate on whether Moses wrote all the Torah, or whether Jonah was a real person. There was no sense of "well this was important for David's day but it has no bearing on our day." There was "We know who Jesus is, and we know He is alive, and we have this written record He has left us, so why don't we apply this scripture which we have known one way for so long, but since meeting Jesus we have come to understand in a new way, and allow that to guide our lives."

Just imagine then when the gift of the Holy Spirit was given to them!

Today we have scripture, in fact we have more scripture than what the disciples, who became Apostles, had, except to go along with it we have the JEDP theory and other types of criticism that do not hold in esteem that these are words communicated to us from God in order that we may begin to know who He is and what He expects from us. They, either out of pride or hubris or some combination of the two, believe they know more about scripture and love to sound smart, but when it comes to really knowing what scripture says, let alone what it means, they have no clue.

Their new way of understanding doesn't take into account that there wasn't anything wrong with how scripture came about or how it was applied by the faithful in times past. They look to reinvent scripture into their own thoughts and opinions. And because the old way doesn't fit their mindset, they look to toss it out and say "well maybe the square wasn't such a bad idea after all."

Though scripture does not need to be reinvented, the way it is understood should change.

To explain this better, Wilbur and Orville Wright flew the first "heavier than air" craft for 12 seconds and roughly 120 feet. Three more successful flights were made, the longest lasting nearly a minute and covering about 850 feet. But what we must remember that, though by all accounts their flight was a success and proved that flight could be achieved by humanity, what they had was a template, a prototype. If the way they and others who were like minded viewed their current design as the be all/end all of airplane design and flight possibility and said "this is the only way an airplane could be made", then what would that have said to future generations of designers, and engineers, and pilots that continue to push the limits of flight, even going so far as to put men on the moon, one of which carried with him a piece of the Wright airplane, because without the Wrights they wouldn't have stood on the moon.

The Apostles did not disregard scripture, they held it in high esteem. But they also saw it in a different way since having met and known Jesus, as well as seeing Him die and be brought back to life.

Do you though think that it ended there? Once the Holy Spirit came, they grew in their understanding. Do you think Peter's last sermon sounded like his first? How about Paul's?

Or think about the way you who are reading this might have seen scripture when you initially came to salvation. Is it the same way you understand scripture now? Has the old lost it's meaning, or has it been added to and expounded on since you have matured?

The question should never be "how do we make scripture relevant?" as scripture has never lost its relevancy. For those who claim they want to reclaim some kind of early Christianity but do so by reinventing scripture lose the point. But, without doing an injustice to scripture, there isn't anything wrong with understanding it in a way that is true to its original intent but also appropriate for our understanding.

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