Genesis 2:4-25 (Creation of Man and Woman)
Psalm 8 (O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!)
Mark 3:1-6 (Healing of the man with withered hand on Sabbath)
Two eyes are better than one, because they make depth perception possible. The same goes with ears. Two ears make it possible to locate the direction of a sound. And we often say that two heads are better than one, because we know that insight from multiple perspectives adds wisdom. p. 7
Last week’s assigned readings included the “first” creation story. The one that involved the very orderly and daily creation of everything, and the constant refrain of “it was good.” This week, under the title “Being Human,” McLaren gives us the “other” creation story. This is the “dirty” creation story. The one where God reaches down to dust and breathes life into man. Later on, God reaches into the man’s side to remove a rib in order to create a woman. Also included in the assigned passage is the introduction of the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And God tells the man that he can eat from any tree EXCEPT the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And of course cue the dramatic music, as “the Fall” is foreshadowed.
McLaren points to the issue that we have two conflicting stories of creation in Genesis. Now for folks that have had some introduction to source theory of the Bible, we can fall back on the notion that these two different stories represent two different sources. And that the compilers of the texts found value in maintaining both narratives. The story from this week is likely the older of the two stories. McLaren says we can learn a couple of things about human-ness from these two stories: (1) we are good and all bear the image of God (story 1) and (2) this is a big responsibility (story 2).
McLaren also suggests, in the passage above, that having two perspectives gives us depth and direction. It was this idea that stuck with me through out the week. This week has given rise to conversations about the issues of the day. Issues of blessing same gender relationships, open communion, and reimagining the structures of the Episcopal Church. In all of these issues there are competing narratives. Words like orthodoxy, Spirit-led, tradition, and emerging, get offered up to define the different narratives. And all sides of the issues claim biblical authority, which is pretty easy to do considering that the compilers of the Bible saw no problem with including multiple, and at times conflicting, narratives.
The current issues in the Episcopal Church would be made easier if someone just declared a winner, but what would we lose in that? All these narratives hold important parts of who we were, are, and will be. We cannot forget that we are good and all bear the image of God, even those persons that disagree with us. We also cannot forget that we have a big responsibility. While our different narratives make us messy and at times the butt of jokes, they also give us depth in our faith communities. Finding space for multiple narratives, and allowing new narratives to thrive, gives us a richness in worship and community. It lets us hear in stereo and see in color.