defensive reading

So we read the creation account,
of God’s Spirit hovering over the deep,
and then maybe we read the theologians
writing about creatio ex nihilo,
creation out of nothing—
when that’s not what it says.

And we read, time and time again,
of God using violence in shortsighted,
impatient rejection of original blessing—exhibiting
a total lack of faith in the transformative power of gracious love,
and so, acting, supposedly, in ways more like we do—
when that’s not who God is.

We read about a developing nationalism
instead of a developing faithfulness,
and the corresponding idea that history
is the imposition of God’s will,
and the nations dance on strings God holds and manipulates—
when that’s not what it is.

We read about the virgin birth
and Jesus’ identification as the Son of God,
and, not as familiar with other ancient figures
given these same attributes, have turned them into justification
of the absolute uniqueness of Jesus—
when that’s not what they were.

We read about Jesus’ miracles
and defend the literal interpretation
as if we thus manifest a greater faith
while obscuring the greater transformative miracles of being—
acting as if miracles were the best testimony to who Jesus was—
when, really, they just got in the way.

Here’s the thing:
we don’t have to protect

What does it say about what we really think about God
that we feel the need to retell the stories protectively?
What does it say about what we really think about God
that we seem to have chosen,
as our means of protecting God,
an offensively defensive way of thinking about God’s being
that is not God’s way of being?


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