Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Do Not Remove

I remember getting a new, tabbed, leather-bound Thompson Chain Reference NIV as I started high school and how I just wanted it with me - I was in love with it; we dated, I think. This book was fresh off the lips of God. I didn't really know how to open it, how to read it, how to take it all in; nevertheless, I wanted it with me. As time went on, though, I was able to build complex scaffolding around it (all prefab, of course) - systems that helped me compass it. I understood the scaffolding. And it was good.

But I've started thinking about this strange construct of mine. I've begun to think about a word I've used to describe the scriptures: inerrant. This word has helped me systematize and categorize the Scriptures. But now I'm wrestling with it. And not because I see the Scriptures as rife with error (I don't) but because I wonder why I feel the need to put it there. Why not be satisfied with the Scriptures' own description of themselves? Why this insane desire to classify, to define, to measure, to have the Scriptures in hand? Does the word inerrant even adequately describe them? Is it the highest word I can use to describe the Scriptures? Psalm 119.96 says that all perfection has limits, but God's commands are boundless. Shouldn't that mystery be wherein I dwell? I've begun to believe that inerrancy binds the scriptures. I want to unbind them again. I want to let them be bigger than me, broader than me, purer than me - to let them break through the scaffolding. Instead of trying to compass or measure the immeasureable ocean before me, I want to dive in and explore its riches, confident and happy that I do not have enough time to exhaust them. I want in on this Story.

I know, I'm mixing metaphors. I know, you're far more concerned that I'm ripping off the tag. The tag says not to. But I am anyway. I don't mind if you keep yours. This is personal. I love God. I love his words. (Oh, how I love them!) And I'm going to let them be what they are. I'm going to dance with them. I hope that's enough for you. I hope you'll understand.


dan said...

This is a totally cool post. While you and I come from different perspectives, I too think that putting a box around the bible doesn't just limit the bible - it limits GOD - and that is something we never want to do.

Jamie Dawn said...

The Scriptures are too complex for me to even think I can begin to understand them. It really annoys me that I can't know it all, though!!

jaymarie said...

i love this.
excellent thought!!!

(and "hi there!")

truevyne said...

I, for one, am not offended that you tear a tag off. I am persnickty and obsessive about the particulars of the Bible I prefer to strap to my side and call friend.

Scott said...

Dan, I'd love to talk with you about our perspectives over coffee (or some other beverage) sometime.

Jaymarie lives! How are you doing? Good to hear from you.

Jamie, Truevyne, I appreciate your perspectives. I think we are called to humility wherever we walk with the Scriptures. I wish sometimes they were more manageable, but extremely happy that they are not.

dan said...

Scott, if you ever make it to Australia or I ever make it to North Carolina, it is totally a date.

In the meantime, if you have msn, my ID is dan at signposts dot org dot au. Virtual coffee might have to suffice.

ross daws said...

Fantastic post, Scott! Keep writing through, and don't... well, I was going to say "don't be afraid" but that's rubbish if my experience is anything to go by... but don't let being afraid stop you from continuing your own exploration, or from writing it through.

You rip the tags off, I'll jump off a cliff, and maybe we'll meet up for a glass of red on a beach somewhere! :-)

Lorna said...

dancing with God. that's what keeping in step with the spirit is all about . Letting Him lead - into something more amazing than you've even dared dream or imagine