Scouting the Divine: A Personal Review
Imagine Jesus, crowd full of listeners who did not have the luxury of googling him, tweeting his quotables, or posting on their facebook status that they were chillin’ at the Mount of Olives listening to this dude from Nazareth. No, they weren’t the most high-tech of crowds, but like many of us they were soul weary, tired, longing for something, someone true and real.
Enter what looked like an ordinary man. Born in a small town like theirs, went to school, learned a trade just like they had, but something was different. Something about this man made you want to follow him, listen to him, probe him with questions about this life and the one after. He always had a story in his pocket, a sensory metaphor with the intent to enlighten; a truth teller who could literally close his message with “seewhatimsayin’” and mean it.
I’ve read his stories, listened to them retold and re-spun. At some points truthfully felt like I heard it all, but I was approaching his and the other stories in the bible as if they were museum artifacts. Meant to be viewed and admired but never touched. Margaret Feinberg’s book Scouting the Divine, will not allow such distance. Choosing three metaphors from the Bible: wool, wine, and honey, Margaret gets up close, dirty and personal in an effort to unfold the reality behind these truths. Interviewing and walking the land with a shepherd, a vintner, and a beekeeper, Margaret brings to life this ancient world that people in the Bible knew that is so unfamiliar to our hyperlink connected world. God’s role as shepherd and vintner, and the land of milk and honey are just a few references that Margaret unpacks here along with her own questions and moments of understanding.
The vintner reference hit home most for me. I literally had to close the book and think about it after reading through a few of the passages. How God, in an effort to want me to grow, would cut and prune (in essence allow me to be in pain) so that when the time comes to be fruitful I can withstand, I can have what it takes. That God doesn’t view me as some work of art that he looks on and keeps in some dusty room that no one ever visits like that frozen living room my aunt’s kept in their houses. Reading about these roles of God from this perspective helped me to see that God is involved in my world every moment, more than I can imagine.
Maybe now when life pinches and prunes, when I feel led down a path and I can’t see the way, I’ll remember as Margaret explored here, that scouting the divine is a journey that never ends and that the dude from Nazareth is worth following.