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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hey anybody, can you spare a Bible? (With apologies to Frank Zappa.)

A friend had a stand at the Eastwood Granny Smith Festival this weekend. On one of his walks around the festival my friend came across a Baha’i outreach and began talking to lady there. Having read much of the original documentation of this religion, as well as a considerable amount of its commentary, my friend felt at ease discussing this woman’s faith and contrasting it with his own.

She was first asked what proves prophethood. She replied that it was the message. He replied that many people can talk persuasively, gently and even beguilingly, mentioning, as an historical example, how Plato recognised and castigated the Sophists for teaching the Athenian politicians how to mesmerise an audience by keeping truth to a minimum. “No,” my friend stressed, "there must be a more objective, external way of seeing whether someone really was from God.”

He pointed out that Jesus used miracles to set himself apart from anyone else, with raising the dead chief among them all. She had never read the Gospels before and would accept one as a gift, so, remembering he’d left all his giveaways at home, he walked to a nearby Anglican stand to ask for a Bible to give to this young woman. Well, what a surprise – there was none. However, they did have The Essential Jesus, but not a single Bible at their “outreach”. When the minister pressed the point about accepting this pared down, adroitly expurgated version of God’s Word (“We’re just giving a more manageable Jesus.”), my friend informed them that he wasn’t happy about page 1 where the author has replaced the real McCoy with his own insipid and jaundiced interpretation of Genesis 1.

The minister sarcastically replied, “Oh, I guess you want a more creationist version of that story!”
“Not really,” came the response. “I wanted a biblical one!”

Walking off and still holding out that a Bible would be delivered to him, my friend made it only 3 more stalls when he saw that the atheists had a stand selling second-hand books. He asked them if they had a Bible.

“Yes, we do,” and pulling a box from underneath the stand, the man drew out, not one, but two Bibles. My friend bought a complete Bible for 2 bucks, decided against going back to the Anglicans to burst all their stupid and puerile balloons they were giving out as evangelical tools (apparently no face painting this year – seems like Peter’s belt-tightening has hit hard!), and raced off to the Baha’i woman and presented her with, not The Essential Jesus, but all of Jesus.

Atheists to the rescue by drawing a non-believer closer to God and Anglicans, once again, making great sausage dog balloon shapes.

By the way, what is the essential Jesus? Are the Anglicans saying that the 4 Gospels need a makeover? Why is Jesus not recognised as the Creator in their “Essential” Jesus? And finally, why do they take 2 balloons to make a cute sausage dog when they could save money and do it with one?


neil moore said...

This begs the question, John, if your friend was a Christian why wasn't he outreaching with his stand and then why didn't he have a Bible himself?

I'm all for criticizing Anglicans when they get it wrong but it looks like your friend's stand was just as short supplied as the Anglicans.

Do I interpret it correctly?


John said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John said...

My friend normally does bring Bibles to give away but, through some unfortunate absentmindedness, that weekend was Bible free.

Of course, what must not be overlooked is that the stand my friend went to was a church and to have a Bible-free church is a bit of an oxymoron, wouldn't you say?

And btw, Neil, you're not begging a question there but raising one.

neil moore said...

Fair enough. Fault all around but with the church seemingly going out evangelizing with more balloons than bibles being more at fault.