We Christians have a largely dysfunctional relationship with the Bible. We make it into a God or we ignore it, and we’re constantly twisting it to say what we’ve already decided is right. And I am most definitely guilty of all of these. I think that we grossly underestimate how powerful this book is if we would just let it speak to us. These thoughts for me are crystallized in the following rant I made a few nights ago:
Too often we treat the Bible as our ally against our “enemy” the unbeliever rather than seeing the Bible as the enemy of our lack of ability to see “the other” as the neighbor that Jesus is calling us to love.
We want to domesticate the Bible, but it is not able to be tamed. It is always wildly calling for a new kind of life from those with ears to hear.
I am deaf, Lord. Help me to hear. Help me to even want to hear, for I am afraid of what hearing will mean.
6 responses to “Poor Assumptions”
Matt all I can say is wow,
“Too often we treat the Bible as our ally against our â€œenemyâ€ the unbeliever rather than seeing the Bible as the enemy of our lack of ability to see â€œthe otherâ€ as the neighbor that Jesus is calling us to love.”
Man there is a lot going on underneath this quote, a lot of change and repentence required on all our parts…
It makes me wonder what impression I leave unbelievers with. I can recall one time where I was so stupid that I actually called an unbeliever an unbeliever because I thought he didn’t believe the bible…
He took me to town on it, and rightly so…Great post brother
Thanks for the comment, and the insight that what this kind of insight truly calls for is repentance. You couldn’t be more right.
And yes, sadly I have been the fool who sees the Bible as my 100% ally before… I can only hope that I see things have changed…
Listening is something that i have had to learn a lot about. Too often i have read the bible, on the one hand, like a pres release to which i have added any implication i desire, or, on the other hand as a one dimensional tome that only speaks propositionally.
Neither is a humble means of receiving from God. Both ways put us in the same category as those who made idols from stumps, or precious metals.
Colin: thanks for your insights, especially that treating the Bible like that turns it into an idol. This is such an ongoing temptation for so many Christians.
Thanks for your comment over at Robby’s on his review of my book, Living Spirituality: Illuminating the Path.
What you have written here resonates deeply with at least two chapters of the book where I portray living spirituality as a journey. We need a map and a guide: “The Map, Map Reading and Living Spirituality,” and “The Spirit is the Guide.” Problem, as you so rightly put it, is that we tend to have “poor assumptions” when it comes to the Bible (Map). We must learn to read it not only “for” ourselves, but also “against” ourselves should we wish to be spiritual people. As you so helpfully alert us to the danger of false options that de-powerize the text, let us read anew and be challenged by this wonderful book.
Greg: no problem, it needed to be added.
The journey metaphor continues to be a powerful one for me, and your map-reading metaphor sounds especially good to someone who has a strange fixation with maps. I was far too excited when Google Earth came out…
Now if only I read the book (or map) as much as I think about how to read it…