Saturday, March 11, 2006

Reading "Revelation," the rest of the Bible - life in general

My friend and I were in church together hearing the preacher flog the people to greater efforts and devotion to God (Ezekiel 34).

I looked at Bill and said, "Get healed!"
He answered, "Next month!"

Reader, can you make sense of that conversation on its own, without some background? I didn't think so. I'll fill you in.

1) "Get healed!"

Back in 1979, I was telling my friend Pat the weird stuff this counselor was doing to me, like telling me that my wife who had left me was man-crazy and that I had to do something about it, when he knew I could do nothing. Pat sat there - large, impassive, and six inches from the ground in a little cloth chair - as I stood there recounting all this weirdness, finally asking, "Fine - he hates me as he has said - but what's in it for him to do this sadistic crap?"

Pat quietly explained, "Look. He's running a healing factory. You're supposed to get healed and prove how wonderful his ministry is. You're supposed to come out looking like a car, and you're coming out like a baby buggy. So - get healed, asshole!"

2) Next month!"

Bill, some years before, had belonged to a ministry that was evangelizing in Southern California. Under the direction of Phil, Bill and several other button men (to use the Mafia term), were supposed to organize new Bible studies of 12 people each, and they weren't doing too well. So Phil was riding their butts like he didn't notice those butts weren't equipped with handrails.

Bill, quite entertained, was quietly sniggering. Phil presently noticed, and turning to him said, "And I want you, f*cker, to have a study together next month!"

And in that group, he had to do it!

Now that you have the background, let's review the bidding:

The preacher rides the people.
I say, "Get healed!"
Bill says, "Next month!"

Now it's clear, right?

What kind of preacher are you? Are the people you "minister to" supposed to vindicate your "ministry" - and what happens if they don't? Are they accountable to you to get a Bible study together next month, or to tithe, or otherwise to make you (excuse me, God's work) a success?

Getting back to my title, the Revelation seems weird due to the same lack of background. To understand it, you just need to get the background behind the words you read, just like with this little conversation between me and Bill. In fact, the rest of the Bible is that way too.

And here's one more thing. People and our weird behavior is like that. Nations are like that. All of life is like that. The Bible is written this way to teach us how to read everything else, because everything else is this way. What we have to learn in order to make sense of the Bible is meant to form in us the mind that can make sense of ourselves, other people, and everything else.


Anonymous acleanbimmer said...

Yah, and a lot of faith healers jab you with a finger or their hand and say, "Be healed!" In the story of the paralytic, Jesus asks a question, then gives an answer....

3/13/2006 12:16 PM  

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