B is for Bible

BFor those of you who didn’t run the other direction, I figure you’re either genuinely curious, curiously sneering, or rebellious. Had I chosen the Koran or The Tao of Poo or The Prophet I’d be riding the current with all the other trout.  But espouse the Bible and you’re salmon for sure. No worries, today’s rebellion is tomorrow’s broad road. Follow what society deems right and you’ll be dancing the rumba, not just in fashion, but in philosophy. Bell bottoms, skinny jeans, big hair, no hair, waist-shrinking corsets, butt-billowing undies, abortions, homosexuality. Thank goodness it’s still wrong not to pay taxes.

I offer you another immovable rock, much more pleasant than taxes.

The Bible is God’s direct revelation to us, and unlike men who claim to speak for Him, God doesn’t change His mind. Not at our shaking fists, not at the political or social clime. Not ever. Quite the contrary, God’s Word changes people. Jesus described it: Anyone who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed. (Matthew 21:44) Put another way, understanding God’s heart will break yours.

I speak from experience.

I wish I could line up my witnesses for you to testify as to the person I was before. No matter, it doesn’t work the same way as a court proceeding or a magic show. The magic, the pardon happens on the inside of each person, thus preserving the faith for the next and the next. Everyone wanted a magic show from Jesus, and history agrees: He performed. Still, how many people ignore Him? How many doubt? Thomas, His own disciple doubted the extent of His power. Is it surprising that 2000+ years later we diminish His accomplishment? A thing can be true whether you believe in it or not. Just ask gravity.

Most people don’t have the patience or tenacity to read the Bible. May I suggest not beginning in the Old Testament? I tried that and got to Leviticus before giving up. Though the Old Testament has value, it’s more of a back story, the how-we-got-into-this-mess. Start with the New Testament if you want to meet God. Specifically the book of John if you want to feel you’re looking into His eyes. Truly.

Most people, myself included, would rather have coffee with Jesus than read His words. A personal meet and greet wins over reading the book every time because we figure if we could offer our side of the case, the verdict would be tailor-made. Pride makes us think we deserve a special dispensation. God’s Word is for the masses. I want a personal interview.

It takes humility to even crack the book.

That’s what it took for me. Read more of my story here, here, and here.

Or consider what Ghandi said about the Bible: You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilisation to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature.

There came a crossroads in my journey. I had to decide what I believed. Was the document just literature? Or was it a mind-blowing, life-changing double-edged sword? The cynic and the scientist in me wanted empirical evidence. For those cynics and scientists out there, check this out. More importantly, read the Bible. Pursue God the way you’d pursue a lover. Don’t tell me He’s not there if you haven’t given more than a glance in search for Him.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12

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13 thoughts on “B is for Bible

    • I read Atlas Shrugged and loved it! 🙂 I haven’t read Das Kapital. Very interesting that two of the three books you love seem to contradict one another. (capitalism vs. communism) Perhaps you see each option’s positive qualities? Thanks for reading!

  1. Strong essay & good. I read this article in the NYTimes this morning and I was just struck all over again with the infinite glory and mystery of God. I don’t seek to understand God (how could I worship a being I understood? (that would make me better or equal anyway). For me, you know me, science is one metaphor to try to approach the eternal. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/02/science/dont-let-them-tell-you-youre-not-at-the-center-of-the-universe.html [ignore the dumb title; it’s mostly about gravity]

    • Thanks for sharing that article, Laura. Ahhh… T.S. Elliot. My fave is “Journey of the Magi.” I think what I’m trying to accomplish with this whole writing (and living) gig is to get someone else into my prison with me. I’m sure each writer has a unique motivation, but I want to show another person what the world looks like from my prison. Or millions. Best not get too heady. 😉 You make me a better person and writer with the knowledge you share with me. Can’t thank you enough for your influence in my life.

  2. The old testament is filled with stories that will curl your hair.

    I don’t think people are opposed to hearing the Bible quoted. It is the contradictions in opinions on what passages often mean. I live in the Bible Belt and there are people who will beat you over the head with a Bible to manipulate. So I would never feel hesitant to quote the Bible. I would just be hesitant to quote it for my personal gain. Along with belief in the scripture, I think a big dose of humility in quoting it helps all of us.

    • I agree the Old Testament rocks. I’m reading 2 Samuel right now and thinking how far I have to go to be like David in his faith. Whatever philosophical book we espouse, humility is the only way to communicate, if we are to do it in love. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Challenging piece. It seems like Christians often try and convince you of their views with a bunch of emotional tugging. I appreciate the way you stayed away from that, shared your story and challenged us to read the Bible and decide for ourselves.

  4. One of the things I love about being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is all the resources and programs we have to help us learn and study the scriptures. For young children we have picture-readers which highlight many Bible stories in a simplified way. At church, our Primary (ages 18 months to 12) classes, teach the Bible stories as well, tying each story to basic gospel principles. The youth (teenagers) take four years of Seminary in their high school years, devoting one year to in-depth personal and class study of each book of scripture, including memorizing specific scripture verses. In college, there are Institute classes that branch out the study even further. At church, adults focus their study on one book of scripture every year in our discussion-based Sunday School classes. We read the King James Version of the Bible and study the footnotes, cross references, maps, and Bible dictionary along with student manuals. All of these resources and programs help members study and understand the Bible and other books of scriptures. It’s pretty cool!

    • Thank you for explaining the spiritual education the JCLDS go through. I knew it was rigorous, as we once did a Model UN simulation with some JCLDS boys. I remember them telling me they woke at 5:30ish every morning to do their devotions. People often have a problem going to church or with churchy people in general. I try to point them back to the Bible alone. People change and churches change. God’s Word doesn’t change.

      • You’re welcome. I just want to add that everyone, regardless of how they feel towards religion and church, are welcome to use these free resources. Just go to http://www.lds.org and use the “scriptures and study” tab. 🙂

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