What kept nagging at me -- after the rush of religion and feeling like I had found a church and a faith I could work into my own belief system -- was the ultimate question of the Divinity of Jesus.
We can't say that all lives matter until we start treating all lives as if they all mattered. As if each was the most precious resource we have. As if losing one of us is losing all of us. “Oh,” a professor says in the play W;t, “it’s an allegory of the soul!” And it is.
We are spoiled for choice when it comes to reckoning with Jesus of Nazareth. For atheists, he was just another Jewish apocalyptic preacher. (I think there was a time when "Did Jesus exist?" made the rounds as a question and almost all historians of the Ancient Near East (ANE) agree that a man named Jesus actually existed; the miracle stories they leave to theology.) For believers, that flow chart branches a lot. Was he wholly divine? Was he wholly human? Was he both? Was Jesus also God, or was Jesus next to God? Your New Testament will be no help on this by the way.
Last night I mentioned to Zach that I'm sort of "meh" about the crucifixion. That came out terribly wrong.
Did Adam and Eve have navels is a silly question. But this navel question has troubled theologians forever, because each question comes value-packed with a bunch of other questions, too.
Do you have a soul? We have to start with what a soul is, which should be easy, it's only four letters, but the thing is, it's not easy, even if it were three letters. We don't have a unilateral definition of the soul. We don't know where the soul "lives" in the body. We don't know if the soul is separate from our earthly experiences. All we have is a hopeful maybe.
A sentence you'll read when you Google "figs and wasps" is in a caption to a photo of a wasp and a fig: "A female fig wasp descends through the ostiole into the center of the fig plant's syconium." This is all clearly a private matter and none of our business but it is my responsibility to tell you that when you eat a fig, you're also eating a wasp. Or at least wasp eggs. Maybe it's wasp larva. The point is, I didn't read much of the article; I'm a headlines kinda guy.
In many ways, The Book of Ruth is a gentle echo of The Book of Job. In Job, we witness a righteous man destroyed for a wager who remains unwavering in his faith right up until he asks, "But why?" The Book of Ruth is also about a life interrupted by Divine Intervention. It's Job with a happier ending, but the same unsettling questions about how we interact with God, and how God can interact with us.
Imagine. You are fleeing your home. You are fleeing your life. Something extraordinarily violent and horrible and utterly destructive is happening to your city where maybe you had friends. Maybe you had a favorite place to watch the sunset while eating figs. Maybe one of your daughters, or cats, or whoever, is left behind.
One of my favorite passages in the entire Bible is Job 42:3: "Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."