The myth of knowing more...
I'm transfixed on this quote of Kierkegaard:
“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand it, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world?
Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament.”
I could not agree more. I say this to my own shame. Most of the Bible, honestly, is very simple to understand. The rub is in the doing of what is known.
I'm actually becoming quite furious with the amount of conversation I'm having with "Christians" about "more Christian things" and "more Christian thoughts". The church is not dying because it doesn't know what's right, it's dying because it doesn't know what's wrong.
And what's wrong is the "not doing what we already know". The more accumulation of knowledge without practice the more godless our religion becomes.
Someone sent me this just this morning. It's quoting James 1 from the Message:
Anyone who sets himself up as "religious" by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.
It is the hot air instead of the fresh air that is crippling our Christianity. It is "talking the good game" without being a good person that crushes all possibility of the "kingdom coming to earth as it is in Heaven".
Real religion isn't knowing more stuff, it's doing what is already known. From where I'm sitting, Christians (myself included) are waterlogged with knowledge, drowning in their own opinions and positions uninterested in the truly "life altering" gospel of Jesus.
When you approach the Bible asking it to help you without altering you, plan on never meeting Jesus, now or in the ever-after.