The Crisis Interviews
Volume Two: Ed
I recently became intrigued with the concept of interviewing thoughtful friends on their “favorite” scriptural passages. And Ed is the second subject of this experiment.
Ed is a smart, open-minded friend with a variety of interests and a whole lot of interesting things to say. His URL indicates that he is a “liberaltreehuggingvegan” – but that doesn’t even begin to tell the whole story.
When I asked him before our interview to come up with a favorite scripture to serve as a starting point, Ed had this to say:
“As far as my favorite Bible verse, I cannot say I have one. I do have a favorite book though, that being Genesis. It has become my favorite because it really sets the tone of the Bible with all it’s fallacies. I have often thought if you can make it through Genesis and think ‘wow, that makes perfect sense,’ then there is probably no going back for you.”
Jesus Crisis interviews Ed
Jesus Crisis: Good afternoon, Ed! And welcome to The Crisis Interviews.
Ed: Hey, man! This sounds like a good time… hope I don’t disappoint.
Jesus Crisis: If your blogs and comments are any indication, I’m sure there is no risk of you disappointing… lol
Ed: lol. So, where do we begin?
Jesus Crisis: When I asked you before this interview for a “favorite scripture,” I found it interesting that you chose an entire book.
Ed: Well… I think breaking down the Bible into quotable phrases has caused a lot of problems. Sound bites are great, but easily taken out of context
Jesus Crisis: Very true. Bible verses are notoriously taken out of context – like anything else, I guess.
Ed: Yes, it almost seems as if that was the plan; and if so, it has worked masterfully. One can justify just about anything by taking the Bible out of context, provided the people they are talking to have no knowledge of the text.
Jesus Crisis: That’s one reason I like these discussions. The more we explore it, the closer we get to the truth, wherever it might or might not be found.
Ed: I think you are right. Hearing other points of view often gives us a perspective we never would have considered. Too often, though, it just pisses us off.
Jesus Crisis: Unfortunately true…. So how are we to take the stories of Genesis, Ed? I mean things like the creation in six days, the great flood, Jacob wrestling with the “angel,” et cetera. Are these literally true facts, only metaphorically true, somewhere in between, or simply ridiculous myths?
Ed: Well, that is where the problem lies, isn’t it? No one really knows. If they were all true, you would think there would be other accounts of it through history. But generally speaking, the Bible is the only source for the stories of the bible. This is where faith comes in.
Jesus Crisis: Some people are sure they do know – and will almost violently defend their positions.
Ed: Well, some people believe they have seen Bigfoot as well… that does not make it true one way or the other.
Jesus Crisis: Indeed. But they believe the fact that it’s written in the Bible does make it true.
Ed: I don’t think you can fault a person for believing in the Bible. We all, at one time or another, believed in Santa Claus too… only because we trusted the people telling the story.
Jesus Crisis: One passage I’ve always found curious in Genesis is where <ST1Lot is visited by “angels” [chapter 19]. A mob of men start beating on his door, demanding to “know” (a euphemism for “have sex with”) his guests. But as much as <ST1Lot</ST1 doesn’t want to let that happen, he seems to have relatively little compunction about giving the same mob his own virgin daughters to ravish. And God apparently still thinks so highly of Lot after this that he spares Lot and his family while destroying the rest of the inhabitants of <ST1Sodom.
Ed: YES! I love that one! I never understood it. If you look at it as metaphor, it’s shows the importance of the angels, but to believe that really happened, well, again the issue of faith enters.
Jesus Crisis: One would think that protecting one’s own family, especially one’s own young daughters would be high on the list of biblical imperatives – higher than protecting adult male (or angelic) guests who could at least to some degree defend themselves.
Ed: One would think so. But the Bible does say God is selfish, so perhaps he doesn’t care for us as much as we like to think he does.
Jesus Crisis: God “doesn’t care for us as much as we like to think he does.” That’s a provocative statement.
Ed: Well, it would seem that if he did, he would fix things as opposed to periodically wiping out entire cities.
Jesus Crisis: That reminds me of Philippians 2:12 – “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Do you think that perhaps God might reserve his “help” primarily for those who, according to the adage, “help themselves”?
Ed: Ah, the age old question, who does God help?… I think it is important to remember God created humans to serve him…not to hang out and eat falafel. I think God is probably pretty indifferent on the issue of our suffering. People who help themselves, I think, just give the credit to God.
Jesus Crisis: Well, I hate to stop now, but that’s about all the time we have today, Ed. I’m so glad you agreed to this.
Ed: No prob man. Sorry I couldn’t be more informative… thank you too, by the way.
Jesus Crisis: You’ve been great and have given us a smorgasbord of food for thought – including the falafel!
Ed: lol… vegans love falafel
Jesus Crisis: I’m not completely vegan, but I must say I’m quite fond of it as well.
Ed: Hehe… I just like saying it.
Jesus Crisis: LOL… Great job on your recent “the militant atheist” blog, by the way!
Ed: Oh thank you…it was my hope to actually reach a few Christians on that one…mostly, it was an apology
Jesus Crisis: I found it very sensitive, thoughtful….
Ed: I try to be that way all the time… maybe that’s why so many people think I am gay.
Jesus Crisis: LOL. Gay can be defined as “happy” – in which sense we should all be gay.
Ed: There ya go. It’s funny to think that in the end, all any one wants to be is gay.
Jesus Crisis: Indeed! Well, have a happy day, Ed. And thank you again for being a great interviewee and one of my favorite MySpace friends.
Ed‘s blog “wasted opportunities” is an important read for anyone who gives a damn about things that really matter. His “so you won’t be bored” made me feel like I matter. And if Ed doesn’t respond to your comments and messages right away, don’t feel like you don’t matter – read his “damnit” and you’ll understand why.
Ed’s most recent blog, “the militant atheist,” manages to be sensitive, provocative, informative – and it’s one of the few blogs I’ve actually gone back and re-read. It also played a role in my decision to interview Ed this week, rather than at a later date. Check it out!