Wednesday, February 2, 2011

whats the deal with reading the bible anyway?

I am rereading the bible using the Bible In 90 Days program with my group. It seems each time I read the bible I see things that I never noticed before. It must have always been there as I don't think my copy has changed over the years, but for some reason it seems different. Perhaps its because I am at a different point in my life and I see things differently than I once did.
Part of this program is just so a person who calls themselves a christian can say they actually read the source book of our faith. It is amazing to me how many have not read it. They have read novels by Louis Lamoure and John Grisham and others or perhaps romance books or whatever. Perhaps they have read a ton of books about religion or christianity or theology by authors like Donald Miller or CS Lewis or Anne Lamont or Max Lucado.
And it seems to be sort of the norm for christians NOT to have read the bible. Most do not see that it is a big deal that they haven't read it for themselves. They grew up going to church so they know something about how that works. They have heard probably hundreds of sermons on certain bible teachings or parables or stories from the bible. We (christian folks) tend to utilize it like a reference guide in times of trouble, going to whatever section at whatever time to study a certain thing and having an "aha" moment then we close it back up and put it away. This approach is much like being sick and going to the pharmacy to hang out hoping that you'll get better without taking any medication.
Maybe you can sleep on it like we tried in college and absorb the contents through osmosis.
The bible for me is not a magical book. I don't have better luck when I have it on my car's dashboard. It is not a good luck charm. I do not take every word of it literally. Much of it I believe may be jewish folklore best they could tell and hand down verbally. Much of it is written through the lens of the author of each book with their own understandings at that time and space. I do not believe it fell out of the sky in the King's English with red lettering. It may be inspired by God, but man had his hand in it. It is, however, the closest thing we have to understanding God. And that understanding is very limited I believe.
I can tell you however, that after I first read the whole thing, that experience sent me on a different path or journey. I had a new perspective on things. I had a larger picture of God and the God Experience. I had answers I didn't have before, read things I had never heard in a sermon, and had questions that couldn't be answered even by the greatest of theologians.
It has increased my faith in God.
I encourage you to read it for yourself. See what you've been missing out on by only hearing those pastel painted sermons that portray biblical events as kid stories. It may just rock your world.


Kelly Efurd Lawson said...

Great post. I enjoyed it.


journeyingrick said...

"This approach is much like being sick and going to the pharmacy to hang out hoping that you'll get better without taking any medication." - AAAHAHAHAAAA yep. how funny that we've all heard little parts of it and trusted that the preacher or whoever was telling us what it meant, but we didn't dig into it ourselves?
and, i agree with your sense of what it is, and how to read it in context and awareness. it's not magic - but it's the basis for a whole lot of stuff we don't realize we use to see the world.
and no, it ain't pastel. it ain't cute. it's R-rated for sure.
maybe that'll get some folks interested!