Land not Literature, you Fools

Land is essential for human endurance but if one can avoid the attachment to the planet the thinking might cross over into a revolution for the landless. If you think that real estate is the ultimate achievement or the common landmark of citizenship you are drinking the cool-ade of the industrial revolution. Our First Nations understand what it means to have not in their own land, and were it not for their brave and wise elders they would be like the rest of us, the subject of literature and landless.

Oral traditions are not the primary source of divine revelation. Many cultures have tried to fold their oral doctrines into a book or collection of books and then label the result as God’s revelation. The range of practices across these cultures or regional blocks makes human viability based oin these traditions highly improbable due to the tendency to assassinate or otherwise silence both dissenters and conscientious objectors. We can pretend, for example, that the content of Exodus, Numbers, and Leviticus are the summary of divine communication and community practice from the beginning. However, if we remember that up to the flood, humans had one language, were necessarily spreading out on the planet (and therefore) were forging different technologies, we have to conclude that there was no people of God who were the exclusive possessors of any documentation of God’s blueprint for the human race.

Treasures of God’s self-disclusure

This is where Abraham’s call and experience can inform us about how the oral traditions enter the collective interests of a community. It is noteworthy that no other people have a priesthood chosen from one family, a documented agreement with God, a land for perpetual possession, the right to dispossess native populations, a place to maintain and celebrate the relationship with God, and a prediction that the whole arrangement will be overruled by a superior witness. You are a fool and probably racist for not recognizing that only one group of humans could be the depository of the treasures of the disclosure of the divine mind. God calls the Hebrew people “My people” through the long history of prostitution and rebellion. God discloses something about his and our responsibility when he tolerates cycle after cycle of rejection and shallow obedience.

Literature that tops the charts

Once the foundation was set in the tables of stone at Sinai neither Hebrew nor heathen (a simple term for “nation”, specifically nations other than Israel) can make progress or make convincing arguments apart from the documents. To ensure that the primary function of the Bible did not float by unnoticed or its development along new lines did not go in one ear and out the next God had at least a couple of strategies.

  • He bypassed the priesthood
  • He authorized the proclamation in a diferent language

“Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and rules that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

Mal. 4:4

The acknowledgment of both of these interventions have been the cause of much of the confusion, hostility, and exploitation of religious ideas. It is not merely a Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan phenomenon for people to cling to ancestral foundations. All across the globe people reject common standards. Women and children, government officials and ordinary citizens pay lipservice to diversity without fully embracing the unity of the human family. Knowing that even Solomon, with his brilliant gift of civic judgment and governance, crashed the ship with his curiosity and rejection of Mosaic tradition. Why would he not? I find it uncomfortably insightful that the wisest man ignored the first contextual pillar of Israelite instruction: the relationship with a single God. It was over five hundred years that had passsed since Moses warned about what having a king would mean for Israel. Over Samuel’s objections the people insisted in having a king like their neighbours. In spite of Yahweh’s superior view of the matter of monarchy and kingdom, the kings became the most rebellious and disturbing examples of leadership, and Yahweh used David’s family to prepare his last will and testament.

Change not possible if we are yes-men and yes-women

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

Acts. 17:11

Literature scares a lot of people. They prefer to watch a video. They listen to books because they have only so much time. The people who get their education in discipleship from audio-video and books can be expected not to know what the Lord wants them to know. Everything that meets their present need or provides a miracle that changes things is labelled right and good. We can expect no change if we have noit acceoted the unchangeable. Long before there was an Abraham there is the Word of God, Lamb for a global sin sacrifice, and a Spirit to make people God’s dswelling place. All the dysfunction in the religious world is due to neglect of special literature. Muslims take Jewish concepts and turn them into extreme tyranny and other untenable practices. Hindus have sacred texts which do have a lot of sayings that look like the building blocks of a just and sustainable society. There is coming a day when the so-called national religions will engage the worshippers of God with a new template for spiritual life. I pray that we will know the difference between ancient and honourable and new, effective and eternal.