Just for fun

5 06 2008

Sometimes I think that those three words were left out of the Genesis account by a well meaning, but overly zealous scribe. “Let us create man in our image… just for fun,” seems to me to represent the character of God and the tone of scripture much better.
Of course I am only joking, that’s about as close as I can bring myself to being heretical.

Nick has asked for Tim and I to answer a question each, for no other reason than the fun of it.
How would Tim build a sacred tribe that includes me? is Tim’s question. I’m afraid that I have a problem with the concept of a tribe which I will explain further into this post, so that may make Tim’s task a little more difficult; sorry.
Mine is: How could I release Tim to minister to the flock in my care?

I really believe in Church in both it’s global and local sense. I believe that the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12 and the 5 fold ministry gifts in Ephesians 4 are for one purpose – Unity. I believe that the ambition of God is unity among men, and He calls His ambition “Church”. He is building His church and I cannot see that He is doing one other thing in earth today.
I also believe that Jesus started the very first church and that He gave us the blueprint in exactly sufficient detail (and without too much detail so that there would be lots of room for a variety of expression in this ultimate unity).
I also believe that He showed us how to hand over a church to another leader so that church would always be multi-generational, despite men’s failures and mortality.

Now the pictures we have given ourselves of church today find themselves in two man-made opposites (there are always 2 man made opposites in heretical error – Baal & Astarte, Fate & Luck, Bulls & Bears… the list is long).
The man-made errors are:
1. Top-down leadership – autocratic, dangerous, evangelical, charismatic.
2. And Bottom-up leadership – democratic, frigid, denominational, traditional.
Neither of these two pictures are what I believe Jesus had in mind. Both of them center around man made systems and man made structures – they are ‘hewn’ out of the mangled machine of failed humanity.

The picture Jesus paints is very different, it is of a front-back leadership:
– Where there are no levels of leadership, where equality is a practical reality (in fact the leader is called to lay his life down for the sheep. This is the key difference between Christianity and Hinduism – no time to get into that now)
– Where momentum is essential and change is ongoing. New wine = new wineskin (without momentum the church reverts to top-down or bottom-up structure)
– Where the whole structure is relationally (not religiously) driven.

That is the way, I believe to ‘bring people through’ into leadership in the church. It is what Jesus did with Peter, and it is what Peter did with James. It’s what the Church stopped doing the moment it became political and hence ‘respectable’.
It calls into action the essential ministries of the Apostle and the Prophet, not only the Evangelist.

It’s opposite, Back-front leadership, is very clearly wrong, bordering on demonically inspired. This is essentially obvious to the western mind, but it is anti-cultural in a traditionally animist context. We can see these two opposites very clearly in Jesus’ own metaphor of the Good Shepherd:
Traditionally middle-eastern shepherds lead sheep very differently from African shepherds. African shepherds have a stick or a bunch of stones, they shout, whistle and goad from the back of the heard to get them moving. Having concern or love or relationship with the sheep is initially optional and quickly becomes unnecessary. (I believe that this mindset is at the heart of tribalism and is the same reason why it is so hard to find a political leader of character in Africa. Of course the extreme Stoic is no better, but that is not what this post is about)
The middle-eastern shepherd, on the other hand, makes it his business to get to know each sheep, he learns to love them and the sheep learn to know, recognise, love and trust the shepherd; that’s why he can lead from the front because there is a willingness to follow him.
It is at once clear that this method is much more natural than any of the man made structural methods. Although it requires a lot more effort and sacrifice from those leading, it is truly progressive, not merely developmental.

Church leaders may not get it right all the time, but I believe that we are to, as much as possible, lead this way.
What does it mean practically? Let me give a few examples. A full list would require a book:
– We don’t have a church membership, and we don’t give out certificates. Yet the edges of the church are well defined (a shepherd must know which are his sheep and which are not).
– Potential leaders are both accountable to and friends with existing leaders before they can play a role in leadership. I have young men ask me to mentor them, my usual answer is, “sure, what 2 areas in your life would be the most difficult for you to hear me speak into?
– Leaders, in Jesus’ church, do not give instruction to people in their personal lives, they give advice. I often say to people that they will get perspective from me, but not permission. But having said that someone who keeps rejecting your advice clearly does not see you as their leader. Also this does not mean that the pastor should not lead the affairs of the church, in that realm he must be giving instruction, not advice.

So we build, as Paul said, on the foundation that is already laid (he was not referring to himself, Paul was only a “master builder”, he never considered himself as the architect – Paul was referring to Jesus). Whatever we build outside of Jesus’ plan may be pragmatic, cultural even wise; but it is not Church!

I have dealt essentially in concepts in this post using a few illustrations and examples. Perhaps, instead of trying to be exhaustive (another word for verbose) it would be better to handle one instance at a time – my way of asking for a response – I may have some answers to specific problems, I’ve been in a front-back lead church for 25 years this December, and I have seen it work.
There are many ways that the traditional church, with the best intentions, has hurt those in it. (every church hurts some people – I’m sure it hurt Peter to hear “get behind me Satan.”) But none more so than its potential leaders.

I am busy with a critical look at second-in-commands in the OT, I believe that the most dangerous position in Jesus’ church is just behind the leader. There are three people I’m comparing:
1. David under Saul
2. Jonathan under Saul
3. Jaob under David
The sad conclusion is that the one who failed the most miserably (and who was lead most astray) was the one under the best leader!

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The Current Tsunamis

3 05 2008

I was thinking the other day about what we occupy our thinking energy with. Most of it is very futile stuff. Stuff that will not matter even in a decade. Quite naturally and very quickly, what we occupy our thinking with becomes what we occupy our physical energy and time with.
Can I earn more money? Are humans ruining the planet? Should we arrange a national lottery? Should I have kids? Where can I get a safe abortion? Which party should I vote for? Can I look younger? Am I pregnant? Can I get thinner? How can I make my staff more productive? How do I get an advantage over my competitors? How do I get to have more sex, safely if possible? Does this make me look fat? Do I have BO? Are we there yet? I wonder what they think about me? …
These are the kinds of questions we have been trained to ask. And we ask them all day long, and most of the night too… But they are the least important questions. The really important questions we do not ask, but why? Could it be that we unconsciously avoid the real questions? I think so, and, as I have said, we have been trained to ask the frivolous questions, and to ask them only.

We humans have always been open to abuse by religion, science, popular culture, peer pressure, the media, and a myriad of other things. It did not matter so much 100 years ago because ideologies were relatively isolated. Ideas would ripple slowly across the planet, doing an equal amount of good and evil. Today they travel with the force, speed and impetus of a tsunami; an ethos tsunami. Or rather an unending series of ever shorter wavelength ethos tsunamis.
Drip feeding new ideas at the rate of generational growth can be wonderfully stimulating, but to be smashed with wave after wave of ideas is devastating. We must force ourselves awake, to think; to look up from the little questions which threaten to drown us. I’m not suggesting that little questions are invalid; little questions are equally valid, they are just secondary. And as CS Lewis pointed out “you cannot get second things by putting them first. You can only get second things by putting first things first.

The word ‘tsunami’ is a good example. I remember about 10 years ago Leonard Sweet produced a book called ‘Soul Tsunami’. When I heard the title I had to look up the word, today very few people, who can read, need to look up the word ‘tsunami’, it has swept over the continents carried on the susceptible and fluid oceans of the world media.
Another example, with much more impact, is our liberal South African Constitution. Influenced and applauded by current ‘democratic’ super-powers. Yet lacking even the simple redemptive processes that would make it a truly democratic constitution (I wrote a post about it, if you don’t know what I mean: Cry the Beleaguered Country)

So, what are the really big questions?
Someone I asked recently said “Why me? More specifically, why am I so special? Why am I alive? What is the REASON for ME as a person to be here on this planet?
I would regard this as the fundamental question of all questions.
Steven Hawking in “A Brief History of Time” said about this question: “If we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.
Hawking’s problem here is that the knowledge he is speaking of is intellectual, categoric knowledge. But scientific ‘knowing’, as we have already established, is not the only way of knowing; and answering the question “what is the reason for me?” is hopelessly outside the self-confessed reaches of the scientific method.
If you have even the slightest inkling of an answer to the question “why me?”, the other questions would just about answer themselves.

Here’s another fundamental question: “What’s the point?”
I would rate this question as number 2 on the list of important questions to answer before you die. Let me give you a reason why.
At some point someone asked “Are humans ruining the planet?” Some scientists said, “we might be,” and activists and politicians said “that’s good enough for us and here’s a bunch of rules and guidelines to stop it from happening.” And the Bureaucrats and popular TV talk shows adjusted their song sheets to the key of the new tune.
Now if, instead of getting into a frenzy of activity, someone asked, “what’s the point?” we would have a very different set of behavioural responses.
The planet is doomed anyway, what is the difference if it is now or in a million years? Someone may answer that this may be be the only planet with life. To which the answer is again, “so what?… What’s the point?
It is not a long walk to the most depressing fatalism once we start asking this question. The Stoics and the Epicureans concluded that suicide was a legitimate means of exit… their answer to the question.
Augustine argued the case against suicide using the example of Lucretia the much lauded lady of Roman fable who took her own life after being raped “There is no way out of the dilemma.” Says Augustine. “If she is an adulteress, why all the praise? If chaste, why did she kill herself?” Fatalism is not an acceptable answer to the question. “There is no point” equally cannot be the answer.
Philosophy,” said Dr Michael Eaton recently, “is just an ever increasing scepticism… Post modernism simply means that we are sure that we don’t really know anything… The more you know the more you wish you knew nothing.
The grand conclusion of philosophy is that there is no point to be found in time and space. Possessing intelligence and consciousness is not an end in itself. But this asks more questions than it answers. Why then do we feel such a desperate need to be the object of some purpose larger than ourselves? Why is in not ‘OK’ to simply say “So what, let’s use up the planet ourselves, why restrain ourselves for the sake of some future generation who we don’t even know. The whole planet may be taken out by a meteor anyway and it is going to be destroyed eventually despite our best efforts“?
It’s all in Ecclesiastes if you want to read it, thought through by Solomon 4000 years ago. “There is nothing new, nothing to be gained, no advantage, under the sun.” (“under the sun” is Solomon’s way of saying “here on earth”) and he’s quite right there is no point here on earth, absolutely none. I challenge you to find one that cannot be refuted by logic alone.
Now here’s the clincher: If there is no point at all why do we behave as if there were? As if somehow our reputation will actually matter in a million years.
What’s the Point?” I want to tell you that more people ask this question that you imagine. Now you may be thinking, “didn’t you say that people don’t ask these questions, and this is number 2 on the list.
Yes I did say that, but most people only ask, “what’s the point?” from inside the dilemma of the other questions, they have been trained not to think outside of it. “What’s the point if I can’t earn any more money?” “What’s the point if I can’t have more sex?” “What’s the point if I am fat?” “What’s the point if they think I’m an idiot?” “What’s the point of saving the planet?
People seldom ask “What’s the point of me, us, everything?” We don’t take the question far enough.

Our view of science is the key here. Our view of science will either keep us asking the little questions or force us to ask the big ones (legitimate as the little questions are).
Science claims to deal only with what is provable, or falsifiable, which is a noble pursuit. And so scientists claim to say nothing about what is not provable, or falsifiable. But science does, all the time. There is always a lot of necessary assumption in the science world because of the issues that science is dealing with. Current science has metaphysical implications and requires metaphysical assumptions; and these assumptions rub off, through the current bombardment of idea tsunamis, on absolutely everyone.
Intelligent Design may not be what is defined as ‘science’ but neither is science within it’s own definition anymore. We don’t want intelligent design in the science classroom but are happy to give science as much metaphysical jurisdiction as it wants.
Science can not show how it is that life started nor how it is that reason evolved. How then can it show when a life ends? Yet it is necessarily assumed in science that biology is the same thing as life. Science cannot show how the universe came into being nor it’s purpose. So its beginning is necessarily assumed and it is assumed to be purposeless (I’ve always wondered why having a beginning to the universe is more important than having a purpose to it). We are trained to think in terms of assumptions, to accept them without requiring evidence.

Here are some other fundamental questions:
When I die (not if, when) is that the end of me?
Will anything I do matter in a million years?
Why is there something rather than nothing?
Why are there many, not just one?
Is there a God?
Richard Dawkins attempts an answer to this last question, he says that God is “not very likely“. It is a singularly unhelpful and small minded attempt. Dawkins attempts to answer a big question as if it were a little one. He tries to use science in the form of statistics to answer something with is neither provable nor falsifiable, and for that he wins approval?!?
Every conception is also very unlikely, life itself is highly improbable, universal order is also extremely unlikely; yet here they all are, observable and measurable. The unlikelyness of God is utterly irrelevant to the question, it does not serve as an answer and the sooner we recognise that the better.

So you think that I am trying to convince you to believe what I believe. I am not. I am asking you to ask the questions we have been trained to believe there is no answer to; and to ask them sincerely. I am also asking you to ignore the noise and the distraction of the current idea tsunamis, to lift your head out of the chicken feed and imagine again, beyond your wildest dreams.

Dr RT Kendall said recently, “God offends the mind to reach the heart.
Here is a little question: “How can a just God let people suffer?” Now if God exists only a fool would deny that He does let people suffer, even ‘good’ people; maybe especially ‘good’ people. The Greeks attempted to answer that question by humanising the gods. They imagined their gods having all these powers but subject to their own character weaknesses, these weaknesses translate to the random doses of suffering and blessing we observe.
Dr Kendall’s statement is an excellent, experiential and relational answer to the question; and, like it or not, Kendall’s right.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans (chapter eight) he quoted the Ecclesiastes theme that the whole world, indeed the universe, is subject to meaningless vanity… If you discount God.
Someone once said” “God has the key of all unknown but He will not give it to you, So you had better trust him to open all the doors.
If we leave out God – we are just animals. When we take away from the human the image of God all you have left is animal.

From His hand” is the Ecclesiastical contrast to “under the sun“.





Hindsight

18 04 2008

I saw an insurance billboard recently with these words;
With foresight, who needs hindsight?

It got me thinking… who indeed?
Well here’s my conclusion:

There are always 3 or 4 generations involved on the playing field at any given time with a few spectators on each end of the spectrum.
If the second generation, the ruling generation (most of the decision-makers of life are from this generation that’s why I call them the ruling generation) is making a successful go at it, then it is my view that the generation before them (the first generation) had exceptionally clear hindsight. The second generation has clear foresight but only at the expense of the first generation’s hindsight. The third generation is a little blind in both directions and will tend to blunder, creating a foresight blockage but giving the fourth very clear hindsight, the fifth then begin the cycle again by converting the fourth’s hindsight into foresight.

There are many examples of this phenomenon, perhaps the best is the generations after the world wars and the consequential economic depressions. The war/depression generation had a huge amount of hindsight. They set up a productive generation with a great deal of foresight in the 50’s. Who in turn created a generation with very little of either in the 60’s and 70’s. They then created a new generation of hindsight cold-war people who gave rise to the current generation with enormous foresight.
It’s like sociological seasons.
I think we all need hindsight, foresight is not possible without it. But we also need foresight. In a sense we need to make our mistakes, because hindsight is not possible without it.

The Greeks I think had it right in their language 3000 years ago. What a marvel Ancient Greek is. Language has certainly not evolved since then, if anything the reverse is true.
They had a number of words for Time. But the three key words were: Hora, Chronos and Keiros.
Hora is a fatalistic word, it has hindsight written all over it. When my grandfather (who is now 93 and not only still driving but servicing his own car too) moved from his house I asked him what he wanted to do will all his old rusty bits of steel and broken tools. “You can’t throw those away,” he said, “you never know when you might need them.” He is a classic hindsight generation man, and I love him!
Hora describes time as a master to whom we are all subject.
Chronos is the opposite, Chronos describes time as the servant of man and opportunity as available to the quick and the hungry. Compounding interest is a product of the Chronos mind. Chronos people are classically foresighted, but with a lack of hindsight they tend to create problems that their foresight, by it’s mere existence, is blind to.

Keiros is to me a word to live by. It is providential, granted (as I said – a word to live by). Opportunities are coming and will keep coming. Keiros says that we should use both foresight and hindsight to recognise which opportunity to take and which to leave. Hora is over cautious reluctant to take any opportunity, always focused on what might go wrong. Chronos rushes in where angels fear to tread, grasping at every opportunity as if opportunity itself was the key to life. A Keiros man is both prudent and full of Joy, he’s at peace and he has mastered fear… not just his fears, but fear itself.

Keiros is a word that teaches me what The Eagles seem to know already… “Learn to be still.





Zeal & The Zeitgeist – Part 1

22 01 2008

Daniel is one of my favourite writings. His records are pivotal to the Bible collection. They contain a decent examination into the Hebrew, Babylonian, Median and Persian cultures and give us wonderful prophetic insight into the Greek and Roman cultures. They also explain the beginnings of the Eastern / Western development split and tells us why the Western ethos seems so unstoppable economically and politically.

Daniel gives us the differences in definition between what is ‘progress’ and what is mere ‘development’. Which come tantalisingly close to my problem with the evolutionary theory as an explanation of complexity and order. According to the theory one would expect to observe development, even entropy; but one does instead observe progress. Why is this? It is a problem for the theory as fatal to it, I believe, as its assumptions.

But anyway, that is not what this post is about. If you’re interested I’d like to take you on a bit of a tour of Daniel’s life. I’m not sure how many I’ll do but I will end up at the 4 cornerstones of Greek philosophy, Cynicism, Scepticism, Stoicism and Epicureanism. They form the Zeitgeist of our day, but I don’t want to jump ahead, I’ll get there eventually.

Most of us have been fortunate enough to have had a ‘Greek education’. By which we mean an academic organised presentation of the sciences and the arts to our senses in a disciplined and purposeful manner.
Amongst all the knowledge we have acquired (some more than others), our ‘Greek education’ has taught us how to Think Logically.
And Logical Thinking is Daniel’s grand prophetic prediction. Of course Logical Thinking is different to Lateral Thinking, as Edward de Bono pointed out to us, but they are extensions of the same foundation.

Now I have already said that I think that God’s dealings with Abraham caused a man, for the first time ever, to think in terms of Linear Time; and that eventually this concept caused the Hebrew nation to rise to power in Mesopotamia and then, when they stopped thinking this way and were sent in exile to Babylon some of them brought with them these thinking concepts which influenced the Babylonian, Median, Persian and eventually the Greek ethos (Some other time it would be good to look at the Hebrew influence on ancient Egypt). It is Daniel’s writing which lets us into some of the history of this influence in Eastern Mesopotamia and eventually on the formation of Greece, which has vast implications for our own Progress or Development, whichever we choose…





Making Sense

17 01 2008

The atheist, secularist or non-theist is defined by what he does not believe. But in the positive he is probably best defined as a philosopher. He relies on observations ‘making sense’, and he trusts his reason absolutely.
Which is indeed a fine thing; but he does not given a reason why he has so much faith in his reason. He simply says that chemicals and electron flows in his brain manufacture a thing called ‘sense’.
How they do that he has not yet said?
When I add chlorine to my pool it kills algae, but it does not manufacture sense (which is what is meant by ‘make sense’), when I put eye-drops in my eye it lubricates but it also does not manufacture sense. Yet in the instance of the human brain this ‘sense’ is manufactured by a chemical process. How is this?

If he can’t show how these chemicals ‘make sense’ then he has a belief. Does he not? It is a fine belief, but it is a belief none the less.

The Theist says that sense was there before the chemicals began to react. How it got there he equally does not know.
Both require belief. Both give the believer a burden of proof.





Babel

17 01 2008

Wild Mauri tongues
spit greetings like a curse
Germanic, hardened steely voices
clipped speech, rough and terse

Soft songs in Swahili
melt in my mind
Chopped up Oriental speech
like wires that unwind

Thick syrup English
thin coating every land
Aramaic flowing river words
like oil under sand

How arrogant, how proud,
that one tongue should define us.
I thank God for Babel’s fate
in Wisdom undermine us.





Why The Bible is not a Religious Book.

17 01 2008

Literary Criticism is a wonderful tool and it tells us a lot about ancient writings. It seems pretty clear, by literary criticism, that the books in the Bible are authentically ancient (and they are not the only authentically ancient writings). Now before you shout at me please hear what I say… it is authentically ancient.
Literary Criticism is limited, it tells us very little about how authentic biblical claims are. Claims are a different story.

Of course we can never be sure, that any writing, ancient or modern, is not a fake (claiming to be old, or of a certain author, etc, but really not). And the Bible is open to those criticisms. Dan Brown’s book and the inevitable movie spawned a whole lot of those kind of conspiracy theories. But the process of literary criticism gives the 66 books in the Bible, as an authentically ancient collection, a lot of credence. There is much more evidence for the bible than for many other much younger writings.
The sceptic, though, should consider every theory, be it mindless or a conspiracy, nothing is too ridiculous or unprecedented to be the truth.
But I am assuming that the reader, like Dan Brown (in his official website), regards these kinds of conspiracies as “works of fiction”. And that we accept that the Gnostic Gospels have no place in the Bible; which is, amongst other things, an attempt to put together a collection of genuinely ancient writings.
To put it simply I’m assuming that we all accept that the Bible is indeed an ancient book and it’s various authors sincere at least, if you don’t think this then what I say further will only make you frustrated, and you will not convince me of your conspiracy theory that the bible was written by power hungry monks in the dark ages (or whatever your theory happens to be). You are welcome, though, to read further but I am not entering into any of those conspiracy ‘debates’ about the bible.

Given my assumption then, what are we do with it? Many readers cannot accept the Bible’s claims of divine authorship & miracles. Some don’t accept that the books in the Bible make such claims.
Do we look at it for it’s literature content, like a Canterbury Tales but much older and covering a greater time span (there are, after all, many literary masterpieces in the collection)? Do we look at it for it’s religious content to find hope and meaning for our lives? Do we just ignore it as a myth?

Well I’d like to suggest that the Bible is many things, but it is not a religious book. It certainly draws no religious conclusions. Piety, or dutiful reverence, is not even close to a theme in any of the 66 books. Some might ask what then about the 10 commandments and the Levitical laws? Even in the law books, Leviticus, Numbers and about half of Exodus, the Law is ethical, not liturgical or ritualistic. One can see it quite clearly looking at the 10 commandments and the summary of all the Law in the Bible is still “Love your neighbour as yourself.” That is hardly ritual.
Liturgy and ritual do play a part in the Old Testament but they are not replaced by any New Testament liturgy or ritual (not even more modern liturgy and ritual). The God of the Bible seems much more interested in our ethics, how we treat each other, than in homage and outward religiosity, how we are ‘seen to be’ treating God. The New Testament definition of Religion is the same as the modern definition of Equality.

So the Bible is not religious, but there is a single major theme that plays through both testaments; and the more you read them the stronger the theme stands out. The theme of the Bible is Love, Sacrificial Love.
It is not erotic love, though eros comes into it, more than is decent!
It is not camaraderie though ‘philadelphia’ also comes into it.
It is also not generic love, though peace does also come into it.
It is not essentially a book about creed although it is cultural and people are it’s major focus.
It is not a book about outward duties but it draws devotional conclusions.
It is not essentially a philosophy though it allows for much speculation and prudence and demands all the thinking, reason and logic one has to apply to it, but no more and no less.
The great Biblical theme is best defined by the old word “Charity” which according to Oxford means “kindness and tolerance in judging others”.
The Biblical claim is that this Sacrificial Love, this “Charity”, is the single most powerful force in the Universe. If so the Universe is, above all else, relational. It may also be mathematical, physical and chemical but it is primarily relational. It is a very singular, bold and succinct statement that the Bible makes.

Here are a few key things about the Bible which we must take note of:

1. There is this theme running right through which is not hard to find; it requires no special IQ or reading abilities. And it runs through the whole Bible despite time spans of generations, dynasties and cultures, and almost as many authors as writings, and writings in a wide variety of writing styles.

2. It has the quality of being natural, authored by people, open to literary criticism; and at the same time it has a surprising, almost magical quality.
It can be described as mythological but one gets the distinct impression that this is the one myth that has actually happened to be true.

3. It is made up of about 6 types of writings:
– Stories in novel the form.
– Law documents.
– Poetry.
– Philosophy or Wisdom.
– Letters.
– Prophecies.

4. Anyone who can read has access to what the Bible offers. No linguist, priest or teacher is required to get to its essential truths.
The Bible is not primarily an academic book, though it can be studied.

Many people regard the bible as ‘contradictory’. They say that it contains contradictions that are fatal to it’s claims. If the Bible is indeed a ‘Word from God’. One would think that it would not say opposing things.
I would agree that there are ancient writings that are contradictory, but the Bible is not one of them.
A contradictory statement is one of a position opposite to one already made. Slight differences and emphases are not contradictions. So if, in view of the writers of Matthew and Mark, they were leaving Jerico (Mat 20:29 & Mrk 10:46), but in the view of the writer of Luke they were arriving in the city (Luk 18:35), it is certainly a difference, but nothing close to a contradiction. Literary Criticism says rightly that the work is, on one level, very human and challengeable. They were either leaving or arriving in Jerico, both cannot be true, but it is an unessential qualification. It makes no difference to the writing. When one looks closely enough there are parts of ancient Biblical writings that are not original and there are a few minor issues, but not even the supporting doctrines are contradicted in the whole Bible. Which is quite unique! It causes me to want to look further.
I have spent a great deal of time looking for any real contradiction in the Bible and I have yet to find one, and I am yet to be shown one.