The word Christianity implies a “Christ” centered religion… correct?
So why do I feel like Christianity in the United States is so BIBLE centered? As if no one could ever experience Christianity without having read the thing? Since when did word of mouth, prayer, and experience become obsolete?
You know there was a time when “The Word” referred to Jesus himself and not the collection of Hebraic and Greek writings we’ve compiled, right?
It is a very important and upsetting contradiction that we as Christians are facing.
Now before I go any further, let me state that the Bible is very important to the Christian faith in the sense that it is the story of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, but it is not the representation of Jesus himself. It provides context and historicity to our evaluations of both ourselves and God. It does not necessarily provide definitive answers and it is not a manual for anything. God may work through it, but it certainly is not God.
When God manifested on earth as Jesus, he died on a cross in order to fulfill the old covenant and rose from the dead to create a new covenant.
The first group of people to engage in that covenant, to be followers of Jesus were the ragamuffins of society; the oppressed, the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, and the spiritually dead. Anyone who had run out of hope for anything else found it in Jesus and his followers.
While that holds true on many counts today, the Church is dominated by a hierarchy of theologically minded individuals. There is more value placed on those who can read and interpret the Bible than those who love well.
This fact, above all else, frightens and enrages me.
Jesus said that his followers would be known by their fruits, their acts of service, their tendency towards forgiveness, and their overall ability to love others.
He did not say that they would be known by their skills in exegesis, their argument for or against Calvinism, or their ability to read the scripture at all. That sort of Christianity isolates and excludes individuals based on things outside of their control.
When we read the bible in the manner that it already says everything God wants to tell us, we are confessing that Jesus did NOT rise from the dead and is NOT alive in each one of us today.
Personally, I don’t want a part in a Christianity that confesses that.
I prefer a Christianity that believes that Jesus is as alive today inside of me and everyone else as he was when he walked the roads in Galilee.