Freak in Training Part 2: The Big Bang


He handed me the scroll and said, “Eat this and fill up on it.” So I ate the scroll, and it tasted sweet as honey.
—Ezekiel 3:3

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
—Jorge Luis Borges

»Read Part 1: Cracking Open the User Manual


I sat in my makeshift basement hermitage, stunned. My Bible rested on the table before me, open to the first chapter of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

The moment I had whispered the words aloud something detonated in my head. Like some metaphysical Big Bang, my inner being flashed and ballooned like a newborn universe. Without warning I was hurled into an infinite awareness, not my own, one completely beyond my paltry comprehension, vast, ancient, thrillingly terrifying. I found myself engulfed by the ineffable, swallowed whole by the primal Mind of the utterly Other. I sat immobile, my mouth open, plunged in an astonishing revelation: the Spirit and the Word were one! I literally cried out in surprise, my voice startling the basement’s empty spaces.

headburstThe Word was no longer hidden behind the Bible’s words. The same Spirit who only days before had shredded my world in a visitation of liquid fire now burst like a shockwave through the seams of human language. This was no literary epiphany, no mere inspired ink on paper; this was visceral, imperative, living actuality. It swamped my cognitive circuit boards and demolished reason’s firewalls. I was in system failure. Divinity had cocked the hammer, pulled the trigger, and blown my freaking head off.

It was one hell of an opening salvo. From that moment I became a Bible-binging fiend. Before work each day, with my concordance on one side and a spiral notebook on the other, I would devour the Biblical texts, flipping from book to book, from Old Testament to New, chasing leads, defining terms, and filling notebooks with observations, impressions, questions, and conclusions. The more closely I looked, the more astonishing and beautiful the Scriptures appeared to me. And always, hovering amid and beyond the text’s many words, there was an unmistakable Presence. The Bible wasn’t merely teaching me about God, it was a place of meeting.

Unlike some, I don’t hold that the Bible is the very Word of God. I believe that it was written by humans, just like me, who were witnessing to what they had seen and heard. I came to believe that theirs is a reliable, inspired testimony which points to a reality that is not coded in the words of Scripture. God is not in the Scriptures, but they do faithfully testify of him. As Jesus himself said, “You study the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life. But these are the very Scriptures that point to me.” And those same Scriptures were pointing me toward the God who had so recently gate-crashed my party.

specsAs I marinated in the Bible, clarity grew in me. For the first time life started coming into focus. I began to recognize patterns and harmonies within the relentless chaotic buzz of things. This experience was different from the sheer electric aliveness of the initial Holy Ghost invasion. This now was less an alien occupation than a profound restructuring of my own heart and mind. Out of the deepest reaches of my soul rose a comprehensive sense of meaning through which everything else was discerned and evaluated. Quite simply, the Bible, making good on its own promises, was making me wise.

But as nifty as all this was, I was not in the game to become some lame Bible thumping junkie. It wasn’t the Book I was after; I wanted the peerless Potentate himself. My time in the Bible had only whetted my appetite. I had tasted and seen that the Lord is good, but I was not satisfied with spiritual finger food. I’d downed the appetizers and now I wanted the burn-your-face-off entrée. I wanted the big stuff and I didn’t care if God fried me for raiding his omnipantry. The Book had hinted of the goodies he stored in there and I’d be damned if I didn’t crash his party this time.

For some, prayer is the key to heaven. For me it was a crowbar.

*   *   *

PART THREE: Punch Drunk


One Response

  1. Love. It.

    Please write faster!

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