Monday, February 15, 2016

Puzzling Pachyderm

Five blind men heard that the circus was coming to town and they thought they would go down and see an elephant. They approached the elephant at the same time, side by side.

The first man grabbed the elephant by the trunk and after feeling it declared, “An elephant is like a big fire hose.”

The second man got a hold of the elephant by the ear and after feeling it disagreed with the first man. “An elephant is alike a large tropical leaf.”

The third man wrapped his arms around the elephant’s leg. It didn’t feel anything like a fire hose or a large leaf. “No, an elephant is like a mighty oak tree.”

The fourth man ran into the side of the elephant. He extended his arms as wide and as high as they could go. “To me an elephant feels like a rough brick wall.”

The fifth man only felt the elephant’s tail. He couldn’t understand what the other men were talking about. “An elephant is like a long rope.”

The five blind men began to bicker with each other over which one was right. The elephant trainer stood back taking in the whole sight. He just silently shook his head. “An elephant looks like, well, an elephant.”

We are like these blind men when we cherry pick passages out of Holy Scripture and use them to form our own beliefs as to what the bible actually is trying to tell us. We can latch on to one passage that leads us to believe that we are saved by only our faith. We can read another and believe that our faith is dead if we don’t perform works of love. One may read a passage and come away believing that anyone who isn’t baptized cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. Another may believe that they can cast out demons by simply using the name of Jesus.
Yet God can see the entire picture, a beautiful tapestry, the magnificent masterpiece of art. God doesn’t see just the fire hose, the tropical plant, the tree, the brick wall, or the rope. God sees the elephant. Jesus took on flesh so that he could teach us how to see the elephant as well. He instructed his church on how to understand the bible. It is only through the lens of the Church can we see and understand the bible for what it is. Without the guidance of the Church we are just grasping at parts of the whole.

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