The Lunatic Gospel Genesis 1-2

18 07 2009

The Creation of Adam, fresco by Michelangelo

The Creation of Adam, fresco by Michelangelo

“In the beginning, God…”

Those four words are completely beyond my comprehension. They may sound simple enough, but in reality, they represent the first of many efforts to reduce God to human words. We know nothing of this “beginning” in which God existed, because everything we know, including time itself, is a part of God’s own creation.

These two stories set up a certain relationship between God and humanity. The two accounts differ in their details (to the point of contradiction, even!), but I sense this deep yearning of both authors to understand our own origins. And if we don’t understand our position before God, then nothing else will ever make sense. These chapters are thus a fitting way to begin this book, this relationship, and this journey of discovery.

Here’s what these chapters tell us:
He is the Creator, we are creation. He is the original image, of which we are merely the likeness. He has given us life and breath, but also some commandments and responsibilities. And this is good; these parameters help us to make sense of the world and provide us with our literal, God-given purpose. We have a duty both to rule over and tend to the rest of creation.

He wants us to be happy. He intends for us to be in fellowship — for it is through this fellowship that we see other images of God. And most of all — we are blessed! We have been blessed since the beginning of creation. With his voice God blessed the first two people and sent them out into the world that he had made for them.

And we are still here, out in the world that he has made for us. And we are blessed.

(originally posted at

Lunatic Gospel, part 1

17 07 2009

About a year ago, I started a blog to track my journey of reading through the entire Bible, all the way from Genesis to Revelation.  The project was called “The Lunatic Gospel” (explanation below).  My intentions started out great: I read, I questioned, I blogged … for about two or three days in a row.  Then there were gaps: first a few days, then a few weeks; then, months went by without a new post.  It wasn’t that I never picked up my Bible, but blogging about it took more energy than I usually had to spare by the end of the day.

I’m discontinuing the old blog, but not the intent of the project; instead, I’ll continue my quest through the Bible in this forum every week or so: kind of like a disjointed mini-series.   The Lunatic Gospel posts will simply be mixed in among the other writing, music, and art that this site has to offer.

But wait! What exactly is the Lunatic Gospel?

Oh yeah, good question!  Here is my introduction to the concept, originally posted at

C. S. Lewis wrote: “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of thing Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”

Or, as my friend Arden put it: “Have you ever read the gospel of Mark? Like, really read it? It makes Jesus sounds like a crazy person!”

Is it blasphemy to call Jesus crazy? Is it libel? Slander? Useless psychobabble?

Or is it something else entirely: something new, something fresh, and above all, something honest?

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus is the Son of God. He is the Christ: the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. But I think it’s equally possible that, at least by human standards, he was probably a little bit off his rocker. And that’s okay with me. If it made perfect sense all the time, it wouldn’t be worth it.

I want to reclaim the lunacy of this gospel: this strange and wondrous book that has turned human society on its head over the course of many, many centuries. I want to embrace its contradictions and its paradoxes, its extremism and its haunting beauty. I want to read it with fresh eyes and just see where it goes, without falling back on preconceived Sunday-School answers as the neat conclusions to each chapter.

And maybe…just maybe…I can even reclaim that little bit of a lunatic that exists in me.