Faith Stories: Virgin Birth … Really?
Miracles like the supposed virgin birth make me feel lost on my faith journey. My friend Marilyn says that she believes in the virgin birth because the Gospels report it, and God is capable of anything. My friend Liz tells me virgin birth is literary, not literal, code testifying to the kingship of Christ. My friend Jo Ann says we should take the Bible seriously, not literally. I tend to be a “cafeteria Christian,” which leads me to choose wisely — some parts I’ll believe, at least the ones that make sense to me, but other parts I’m okay letting go.
Sounds like it is the Gospel of Jane, not God’s. Yikes, that is totally not good. Faith should be in things unknown, even unknowable; but what then? Maybe like teasing out the meaning of a parable, I have been ruminating on the meaning of the so-called virgin birth story.
First, let me tell you, that whether it is literal reporting of facts or something else, my faith in Jesus is in no way dependent on the facts of the details surrounding the birth. Virgin birth or merely human makes no difference to my faith – so why even bring it up?
Well, the story is there, in the Bible – that book we call Sacred Scripture. Thinking about Mary’s pregnancy causes me to see the story in a way that does have meaning for me. Here’s my thought on this: we are the body of Christ. Each of us has a spark of Godness in us among the other not so great traits. Christ was both totally human and totally imbued with the whole of Godness, not just a spark. And that was truly a virgin birthing of God into the world. As for the biology of that, well, that’s a whole different story.
For this reason, my faith journey depends on having others with whom to share the stories. Not so much to find the correct answer (or the answer we agree upon) but to question what it all means; to taste the richness of the stories; to connect to the stories, as well as to learn from other perspectives on the same issue. Steps/decisions/understanding taken on my faith journey are informed by my ruminating on the word of God, considering again my God-given gifts and defects, and having my God-given journey mates share their experiences with me. I am thankful for all of them.