The Old Fool with Shoes Off

tabernacle furniture

Furniture in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness

I’ve taken a long time writing this blog before making it public because I am doing a holy task with care.

J. D. Graber was a Mennonite missionary who lived two or three generations ago. According to my memory, he wrote that if one wishes to rearrange the furniture in another person’s holy of hollies he should first take off his shoes.

I take off my shoes, not because I wish to rearrange the furniture in another persons inner holy of hollies, but I am about to enter my own holy of hollies. Moreover, I invite you, my reader, to take off your shoes and enter my holy of hollies with me.  I do this reverently, with a sense of awe, and some fear for I am reexamining and restating my own core beliefs.

stoneCore beliefs spring from one’s culture beginning at the moment of birth (or before).  Core beliefs are shaped by pressures from family and friends, church and school, associates in vocation and society. Core beliefs determine how one lives and how others are influenced.

I have a book in my inner sanctum that in the past shaped my core beliefs. The book was introduced to me by my parents and church. I was told and I believed the Bible to be the verbally inspired Word of God. I read the book as a child. I preached from it for many years and tried to live by it to please the God whom I believed inspired it.

The Holy BibleBut the times and I have changed.  I now understand the bible to be read just like any other book. I urge others to read it thoughtfully, with ordinary  skepticism,  aware of inaccuracies in it, amused by humor, aghast at the immoral, violent and gruesome  behaviors of its heroes,  While I no longer view it as the verbally inspired word of God, I have not trashed it for it is not trash

The bible is a virtual library of books written by prophets, priests, poets, and storytellers.  Within its pages are gems of wisdom and truth.  I was surprised by my review of Romans 12:2 in previous posts. I am pondering the rule of II Thessalonians 3:10:  “For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”  Should this rule be twisted to justify elimination of the government’s aid to the jobless?

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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4 Responses to The Old Fool with Shoes Off

  1. Sam Troyer says:

    No, there are many who use government assistance and some who misuse it. We learn a lot about a society by the way it treats it’s poor or marginalized. I believe that God’s new humanity needs to lead the way in this.

  2. Marilyn Slabach says:

    For one year, beginning in August, our church is using Brian McClarens book We Make the Road by Walking. Small groups, adults to children, are involved and this is the focus of Sunday worship each week. In our small group we read about the children of Israel, and the violence, death and destruction after they were released from slavery, and Jesus dealing with the Canaanite woman who asked that her daughter be healed. We had wuestions about some of this action. Good discussion! We are a diverse group and will continue to deal with such things this year. It’s a wonderful journey. It reminds me that the Bible is not a rule book. The “greatest commandment” taken from Law of Moses and cited in the New Testament is the core of religion: Love God with all your heart, soul and mind. And your neighbor as yourself. Thanks always for sharing your journey here. Blessings

    • Marilyn:

      Thanks for telling about your congregation’s use of the book by McLaren titled You Make the Road by Traveling. I am reading the Kindle version of the book and believe it can be very useful in a congregational setting.

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