‘And the Word was made text, and the text was bound among us’

A Gospel reading from the first chapter of John, evangelical edition:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God.

All things were taught by the Word; and without the Word was not any thing taught that was taught.

In the Word was life; and the life was the light of men.

And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

And the Word was made text, and the text was bound among us, and we beheld its glory, the glory as of the only transcribed of the Father, full of inerrancy and truth.

And of its fulness have all we received, and inerrancy for inerrancy.

For the law was given by Moses, but inerrancy and truth came by the Word.

No man hath seen God at any time, the only transcribed text, which is from the bosom of the Father, it hath declared him.

(This is me, venting — letting off a bit of steam so I’ll be able to write a more substantive response to the horrifying bibliolatry being preached in reaction to Steve Chalke’s recent argument for honoring all marriages equally. “Christianity is not about a book,” Chalke said, and the emphatic reply from his evangelical brethren has been to insist that, Yes it is, yes it is, yes it is!)

  • aunursa

    If someone were to say to me: Judaism is not about the Torah, I would disagree.  I would maintain that Judaism is about the Torah.  It’s true that Judaism is also about many other things in addition to the Torah.  But I would consider it incorrect to say that Judaism is not about the Torah.

    Perhaps there is a different context or interpretation that I am not understanding.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “It’s a personal relationship with God/Jesus” is a convenient get-out clause, but it fails to take into account that each person’s personal relationship, just as with friendships, will be different.

    It is of interest to note that these folks apparently want uniformity in the “personal relationship” which must be regulated according to…. The Bible.

    So much for Christianity not being like other religions with a holy text!

  • Magic_Cracker

    In the beginning was the Word? Don’t you know about the Word? The Bird is the Word!

  • EllieMurasaki

    Christianity is, supposedly, about Christ. The anthology containing writings about him and his successors and predecessors (or those of said writings that survived various purges of things that didn’t suit early Christian leaders–I dunno what happened in the process of canonizing the Tanakh) is supposed to be a starting point to understand and emulate Christ, not the be-all and end-all of the religion.

    Insert all the reasons for which people criticize certain segments of Christianity for harping on things that are referenced once or twice in the Bible (if they’re referenced at all) and never by Christ, while completely ignoring most everything Christ said and a great many things that the Bible says over and over and over again.

  • P J Evans

    Not only bibliolatry, but also lying bibliolatry: what they preach is not what it says,and even less what it means. Giving hungry people fruit to eat with worms inside, and the worms are poisonous.

  • LL

    I’m guessing that the purpose behind emphasizing the relationship with Christ and other Christians as opposed to emphasizing the stories about him is so that people don’t end up thinking that words in a book are more important than treating people decently. Since words in a book can often be interpreted in different ways (depending on who’s interpreting them) and used by one group to dominate another by “interpreting” in the sacred text their right to do so (for example, to justify slavery). 

  • Vermic

    The Bird is the Word!

    Heretic!  There is but one word that is the Word, and “Grease” is it.

  • John (not McCain)

    There are idolaters who are not conservative christians; there are no conservative christians who are not idolaters.

  • LL

    Just as an aside, this “the Bible says” bullshit that Christians pull reminds me of home owners associations. 

    According to many people I’ve heard from on the subject, your home owners association is only as good as the people running it. If the people running it have better things to do than dictate the exact right shade of beige to paint your house or measure the height of the bushes in front of it to make sure they’re not one quarter inch higher than allowed by the bylaws, you’re in luck. But if your home owners association is run by insufferable busybodies with control freak tendencies who do bitch about the color of houses and the height of bushes, you’re probably going to have numerous issues with them, because they’re the sort of people who don’t understand the difference between painting your house a slightly lighter shade of beige than the approved one vs. painting your house neon green and leaving your Christmas lights up all year round. They don’t understand the concepts of “freedom” or “priorities.” They see sameness as a virtue and look around for differences they can ruthlessly eliminate in order to keep everybody in line.

    Anybody who thinks painting a house the exact right shade of beige is important is somebody who should not be in charge of anything. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    You’d think, but modern usage of the “personal relationship” term seems specifically aimed at ending-around First Amendment provisions which have the legal effect of forcing the government to treat all stated religious faiths without favoritism, which of course some Christians just cannot abide.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    How on earth did HOAs come into being anyway? That shit should all be regulated by municipal bylaw.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’ve known people who spent a few days in jail because they had the wrong species of grass planted in their yard. The correct species, of course, was not native to that region and didn’t grow well in that area’s typical humidity and temperature, requiring lots of money and leisure time to seed, water and care for it.

    The net effect, of course, forced anyone NOT making hundreds of thousands of dollars while only working two days a week to live somewhere else.

  • Münchner Kindl

    I’ve known people who spent a few days in jail because they had the wrong species of grass planted in their yard

    Huh? What on earth … how can that be a jailable offense, and not a simple fine, even if the municipiality set the rules and not the HOA? (Too bad there is no dept. for enviroment which would stop the rule for a non-native, water-wasting grass as mandatory; although, you pointed out the real reason for the clause.)

  • Ymfon

     As long as it’s your own house, why shouldn’t you be allowed  to paint it neon green if you want to?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Thank God Canada hasn’t been infested by HOAs. The closest equivalent is so-called “strata” housing – basically condominiums or townhouses – run by strata councils.

  • Lunch Meat

    Instead of saying “Christianity is about the Bible,” I would say “The Bible is about Christianity (or about following Christ).” I think when I say “It’s not about the Bible,” I mean the Bible does not define the purpose or meaning behind what we do. What other people said or did in the past may be a guide as to how I should live today, but it’s not the most important. Biblical Christianity is pretty biased in favor of Spirit, grace, and mercy over rules, tradition and sacrifice. You have “Man was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath for man.” “The kingdom of God is not in eating and drinking, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Basically if the rules aren’t fulfilling the purpose of helping people, we’re supposed to chuck them, and that’s what the early church did.

    Unfortunately, the letters that people wrote in their unique situations while working through this process are now interpreted to be absolute, and instead of a living, breathing Spirit, we’re relying on a book bound and set in stone.

  • Katie

     The only problem with this is that ‘people who think houses being the right shade of beige is important’, are, at least 90% of the time, also the sort of people who *want* to be in charge of an HOA.

  • Emcee, cubed

    The reasoning behind it (and I’m not saying it is good reasoning, just that it is), is that if you paint your home neon green, you bring down the value of the other houses around you, because no one wants to live near a neon green house (or someone who would choose to paint their house neon green. Or something.) 

    And some of this is justified. Am house hunting right now, and if we go into a neighborhood where there are maybe cars up on blocks, or lots of junk and trash piled in yards, we aren’t interested, even if the actual house we are looking at has none of these things. But as someone said, sometimes the things are just ridiculous, and are used to show that certain people have power over you rather than to be good for the neighborhood.

  • Cathy W

    The theory is usually that a certain degree of conformity will help maintain property values along the whole street, while that one neon green house will lower them.

    The question is, how much conformity is “a certain degree”? When house-hunting recently, I rejected a housing development where all the houses of the same model were clustered together and all painted alike, because I expected children to come out of the doors at the same time and start bouncing balls in unison. At the other end of the spectrum, there was another house I was considering where I looked at the HOA covenants kind of boiled down to “keep your property well-maintained and the landscaping tidy”, rather than “ONLY BEIGE! NO FENCES!” (which seemed to be the local standard).  That one might have been the least objectionable HOA I saw through the whole process, but they really all did boil down to “I’m going to pay a ludicrous fee every month for someone to yell at me about my garbage cans being left out too long,” and we decided a HOA in general was a big strike against a possible house. I’m obviously not the kind of person a HOA is meant to appeal to…

  • Magic_Cracker

    …because I expected children to come out of the doors at the same time and start bouncing balls in unison.

    I see your L’Engle reference and raise you one X-Files!

  • john

    http://wh.gov/mlco help my father be pardoned for being wrongfully prosecuted

  • walden

    (cue music)….
    “the homes are all the same there
    –in Camazotz,
    in Camazotz!”

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    Anybody who thinks painting a house the exact right shade of beige is important is somebody who should not be in charge of anything.

    This reminds me of the book The Gammage Cup by Carol Kindall. Everyone in town must paint their door the same shade (green, iirc). Cherry, an artist, paints her door bright red. This leads to someone who never really thought about stuff like this before throwing her lot in with Cherry and getting exiled with her. (And saving the town, of course.)

    Anyone who thinks painting a house the exact right shade of beige isn’t only a bad leader because of morality. They’re a bad leader because their system just plain doesn’t work. It might grant them power for a short time, but inevitably the system breaks. People cannot be controlled on that level. It’s not just the Cherrys who rebel; it’s the decent people who never really thought about this stuff before.

  • http://lliira.dreamwidth.org/ Lliira

    I’ve known people who spent a few days in jail because they had the wrong species of grass planted in their yard.

    I read this and thought, good, it should be illegal to plant invasive, water-sucking grass. As a Floridian, I heartily approve of throwing people in jail who insist on having their lawns look like they live in Surrey, thereby literally sinking the entire state.

    Then I got to your next sentence. So it’s illegal to NOT ruin the environment? 

  • Jenny Islander

    This.  

    Another way to state the issue is that Jesus talked always about principles, and Christian life is supposed to be an attempt to live out those principles.  Bibliolaters ignore the principles in an attempt to develop checklists.  Jesus had some tough things to say about that.

  • LL

    HOAs (from what I’ve read) is a way for municipalities to outsource upkeep and code enforcement from the city to home owners themselves. From the home owners’ perspective, I don’t see much difference between the city telling you to mow your lawn and your neighbors telling you to mow your lawn (except that busybody neighbors seem to be much more assholish about it), and I think the cost per household is about the same (although apparently some HOAs charge quite a lot in fees). But cities like it because if they don’t have to worry about code enforcement, they don’t have to hire people to do it. And they still get the benefit of the properties in their tax base.

    Apparently, many cities now require new housing additions to have an HOA. They don’t have to be resident-administered (some are run by private companies), but they have to be put in place. In some states, it seems to very difficult to find a house that isn’t part of an HOA. For many people, it isn’t optional.

  • Cathy W

    Expanding my thoughts: I’d buy that one neon green house in a row of beige houses would probably detract from the neighborhood as far as prospective buyers are concerned – because the prospective buyers for whom that neighborhood is a good fit are looking for a row of beige houses.  One neon green house in a neighborhood where no two are the same color, much less the same model, or maybe not even the same decade, and there’s that guy on the corner with the birdhouse collection – probably less of a big deal, because the person who’s actually going to buy there finds that the individuality of the homes gives the neighborhood character (and yes, I’d agree that a car up on blocks goes beyond character – but there’s a long way between “different” and “run-down”).

    I don’t get the mentality that values a row of uniformly beige houses. I find myself wondering if there’s some correlation between “I want my neighbors’ houses to be just like mine” and “I want my neighbors to be just like me”. Also if I find the concern about property values to be odd, within a certain tolerance, because I wasn’t looking for a house with selling it in mind, but living in it.

  • pharoute

    Many Christians, to borrow from our Buddhist siblings, are focused on the finger, not what the finger is pointing to. The Bible is the guide book, not the destination.

  • Cathy W

    One thing my realtor told me is that while the area I was looking in didn’t require HOAs, it was much easier for a developer to get approval for a “site condominium” with an HOA than for an old-fashioned platted subdivision, so all the new developments were site condos. I wonder if that’s where the non-restrictive HOA came from – “well, we have to have one, let’s put ‘don’t be a jerk’ into legalese and call it a day.”

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    That’s ridiculous. When did this idea that could only have emanated from the same process as some internal plans in business take root?

    I’ll bet anything, starting in the Reagan Daze when he fatuously declared that governments never did anything good worth doing.

  • Lunch Meat

    Also if I find the concern about property values to be odd, within a certain tolerance, because I wasn’t looking for a house with selling it
    in mind, but living in it.

    This. I know, when watching shows about people wanting to find houses, that it would be boring if they didn’t have high standards and difficult choices, but it amazes me the number of people who come in and say, “Oh, we’ll have to replace all the counters, because they’re not up-to-date.” Why do you care whether the counters are fashionable or not? If you like them, isn’t that all that matters, since you’re the one who will have to live with them?

  • Cathy W

    Even moreso, the remodeling shows where they’re guided through decisons by what a prospective buyer might want and warned not to “overpersonalize” - when there’s no indication that they plan to sell any time soon.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     Maybe they’re the kind of people who just like undertaking home improvement projects?  I swear my father is like that.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     Also if I find the concern about property values to be odd, within a
    certain tolerance, because I wasn’t looking for a house with selling it
    in mind, but living in it.

    In my experience, concerns over property values seems to come when people aren’t sure how long they’re actually going to live in a home.  If you’re concerned you might find it necessary to move ten years into a thirty year mortgage….

  • Münchner Kindl

    Also if I find the concern about property values to be odd, within a certain tolerance, because I wasn’t looking for a house with selling it in mind, but living in it.

    I thought that was one of the big cultural differences: in the US, houses are much cheaper (about 2-3 year-incomes) and resale is very important because people might have to sell the house to move away for the job at a moment’s notice. Whereas here houses are more expensive (at least 10 year-incomes) but people until recently bought a house in the country in order to live there the rest of their lives. (For only investing money, people bought a flat to rent out in a city).

  • Mike Timonin

    I’m sure that the trend towards controlling HOA’s has deeper roots, but it’s influenced in a big way by the rise of Levittown-esque suburbs in the late ’40s and early ’50s. Levittown itself, the first one, on Long Island, is not actually part of a municipality at all. The Levitt brothers built it outside of any municipal zones of control so as to be as free of building codes as possible. (The discussion of building codes by big home builders, as documented in architectural trade magazines and, more publicly, in Time and Life, is fascinating stuff). Anyway, apparently, the Levitts were deeply concerned about maintaining standards in their towns. There were rules about when you could dry laundry outside, and rules about your lawns and etc. One of the brothers, if he found your lawn to be too long, would ring your doorbell and berate you. The other would have someone mow the lawn for you, and then send you a bill.

  • Lunch Meat

    I thought that was one of the big cultural differences: in the US,
    houses are much cheaper (about 2-3 year-incomes) and resale is very
    important because people might have to sell the house to move away for
    the job at a moment’s notice.

    That’s a really huge generalization, and it’s going to vary a lot by area cost of living, income level, and type of job.

  • P J Evans

     I’ve heard people say that they think there’s something wrong with a house that’s more than ten years old and hasn’t been remodeled. I’ve also met people who buy a fairly new house and promptly start ‘fixing’ everything to look the way they think it should look. (Which, IMO, is defeating the purpose of buying an existing house.)

  • P J Evans

     There are parts of the US where houses are so expensive that you need at least a six-figure income to buy one. (Most large cities, for example.)

  • Magic_Cracker

    On topic: One year at summer camp, my Scoutmaster and I got into a theological discussion. He was a Methodist, I was a Catholic, and we both agreed that people who “worship the Bible” (his phrasing) were deeply weird in that they seemed obsessed with every little rule except the Golden Rule.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Also if I find the concern about property values to be odd, within a
    certain tolerance, because I wasn’t looking for a house with selling it
    in mind, but living in it.

    You know, I have never understood people who treat a place to live like some kind of quick-cash machine.

    :|

  • EllieMurasaki

    Speculation in wheat futures.

  • http://musings.northerngrove.com/ JarredH

     (Which, IMO, is defeating the purpose of buying an existing house.)

    Having a pre-existing foundation can save you quite a bit, though.  Plus pre-existing houses tend to come with pre-existing hook-ups for electric, water, and waste, which can also be convenient.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Anyone who thinks painting a house the exact right shade of beige isn’t only a bad leader because of morality. They’re a bad leader because their system just plain doesn’t work. It might grant them power for a short time, but inevitably the system breaks. People cannot be controlled on that level. It’s not just the Cherrys who rebel; it’s the decent people who never really thought about this stuff before.

    RationalWiki’s entry for “Dictator” has a long list of reasons why such control does not work on a long-term basis.  

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    I’ve also met people who buy a fairly new house and promptly start ‘fixing’ everything to look the way they think it should look. (Which, IMO, is defeating the purpose of buying an existing house.)

    I can see why people do that.  Different people will have different tastes in houses, as well as different needs for that house.  There are a lot more factors than just what is initially in the place, location and price (which are not unrelated things) has a huge amount to do with it.  Sometimes you have to settle for a house which is “good enough” and then do a little modification from there.  

  • P J Evans

    This was stuff like granite counters in the kitchen and fancy floor tiles in the entryway. And also a mahogany dining room set. It was all ‘looks’, not ‘needs’. (Note that this is in an area where it will cost several hundred thousand dollars just for the house.)

  • MaryKaye

    Some pagans view religion as a double-edged tool; it can be a tool to connect you to the gods, but it can also be a box to try to force the gods into, because they are incorrigibly weird and uncontrolled and troublesome, and humans don’t tolerate that well.  Periodically the gods have to come by and smash some boxes, or we would lose contact with them completely as the structures made to control that contact become more and more overcontrolling.

    I was personally involved with one of those smashings.  We had written a Samhain ritual that really was way too controlled (we had spent a lot of time working on how to head off “inappropriate” personal statements during the personal-statement part).  Then the church’s chimney collapsed half an hour before the ritual, and we ended up holding it outside in the parking lot, in a Seattle October drizzle, at night.  We had no control over anything, and people said some amazing, searing, uncontrolled things that really seemed to need to be said.  It turns out that people don’t just grieve their dead–sometimes they hate them; sometimes death is the ultimate refusal to give closure.  And sometimes other things than people die and have to be grieved.

    (Also the gods, snarky bastards that they are, got to eat the entire Samhain feast themselves, because we weren’t let back in the church for 3 days due to carbon monoxide.)

    Christianity is a big, old, organized complex of religious traditions, and it has a terrible problem with ossification and boxes.  I was really moved by the preacher who was suffering from insults directed at her race, and understood suddenly that God was showing her what her gay parishioners were going through.  That kind of experience is the box being cracked.  It’s messy and wayward and makes you do things you didn’t want to do, but if it can’t happen anymore than your faith is shut in a completely sealed box, which is to say, it’s dead.

  • Jenora Feuer

    … I rejected a housing development where all the houses of the same model
    were clustered together and all painted alike, because I expected
    children to come out of the doors at the same time and start bouncing
    balls in unison …

    Another Pleasant Valley Sunday,
    Charcoal burning everywhere.
    Rows of houses that are all the same,
    And no-one seems to care.

  • Magic_Cracker

    Little boxes on the hillside
    Little boxes all the same
    There’s a beige one and a tan one
    Taupe one and an off-white one…

  • P J Evans

    And they’re all made out of ticky-tacky,
    And they all look just the same.

    (There are HOA agreements that control what you can do in your back yard, even though your neighbors can’t actually see into it.)


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