Literarily speaking

I was thinking tonight – while sitting in a Christmas Eve service in Dalby – that I don’t understand why the liberals or “progressives” are so keen to see the narratives of the birth of Jesus as “metaphors” or hyperbole. Not because that’s what the church in Dalby did – the Christmas story was presented in all its glory.

The story of an unlikely conception, occurring in such a way that the baby arrived in a city that did not have room to receive the incoming “king”, who was pursued ruthlessly by a rival king, and heralded by angels is a story laden with significant metaphors and literary devices – I just don’t know why the presence of metaphors makes the truth of the story any less likely.

It seems the liberal and progressive arm of Christianity isn’t prepared to cut God any slack to act in a creative way. Why shouldn’t we expect God to use metaphors, similes and miracles? Jesus spent a fair bit of time teaching in parables. I just don’t get the mindset that says that God firstly must act in a way consistent with our scientific observations and secondly limits him to acting and communicating in a mundane and boring manner. If Jesus was just an ordinary baby born in an ordinary way there’d be nothing to celebrate about his arrival.

And I still can’t get my head around what you have left if you toss out all the supernatural bits of God. If you don’t believe that God could cause a virgin to conceive or the dead to be raised then what’s the point?

Merry Christmas.

The author

Nathan runs St Eutychus. He loves Jesus. His wife. His daughter. His son. His other daughter. His dog. Coffee. And the Internet. He is the campus pastor at Creek Road South Bank, a graduate of Queensland Theological College (M. Div) and the Queensland University of Technology (B. Journ). He spent a significant portion of his pre-ministry-as-a-full-time-job life working in Public Relations, and now loves promoting Jesus in Brisbane and online. He can't believe how great it is that people pay him to talk and think about Jesus.

One thought on “Literarily speaking”

  1. It's funny how one of the 'new atheist' claims is that religion is just a kind of wishful thinking, yet, they find a common ground, if not some respect for liberals (such as Spong) when it seems to me that such 'progressiveness' is more about shaping religious ideas into a presupposed ideological mould.
    Sure that is creating God in their image more so than the God of the bible, which is said to be nonsense. Perhaps it's just another of the opposing explanations like the 'crutch / fear' ideas.

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