Wednesday, July 17, 2013
in which i admit to being afraid of the Bible
at 3:12 AM
I, little miss pastor's wife, have a confession to make. I do not particularly enjoy reading the Bible. In fact, I would say I'm sometimes downright afraid of it. Suspicious, even; the way you are suspicious around a favorite male cousin you haven't seen in a year whose voice is now several octaves deeper.
There are many times when I'm splashing around the Old Testament when my heart suddenly begins beating in a wild flurry and I beg, "God, surely you didn't mean that. Where is the Greek translation for this paragraph, anyway?" I wish I had a wise, sympathetic old theologian beside me at all times (preferably a universalist because they seem so darn cheery), explaining away all the scary, paradoxical, mind-blowing passages.
Now, I know. There is an unfathomable, poetic beauty in serving a God we can't explain or fully understand. Of course. I love to ponder the mystery of God in relation to time and space, I love that he is so infinitely beyond our imagination.
What bothers me is the nitty gritty (did you say that in Nacho Libre's voice? Because I did.) You know, little things like genocide. God sending an evil spirit upon Saul (what?) Just to name a few. Is it any surprise that most devotionals only cover a portion of the Bible, only touch on the parts that, even if they don't make us feel good, at least make sense? I am constantly brought back to the same questions: Is any of this real? Is this supposed be taken literally? Is this really good news? So I sigh, flip open my pink devotional, and pretend that everything is rosy and can fit snugly into my allotted ten minutes.
And yet. And yet I know I cannot follow Jesus closely with this attitude of fear and distrust. I can't live the rest of my Christian life off of fuzzy devotions. It's time for this girl to take a deep, shaky breath and dive in. I cringe to imagine God, at the end of my life, asking me why I never used this great love of books he's given me to read the one that mattered most.
So as I pore through even the most disturbing passages, I want to read them through love-tinted glasses. Because, deep down, I believe that everything God says and does is love inspired. And while I want to be influenced by God's voice alone, I know I'm going to need some help learning how to actually read the Bible. Because unlike what I was taught in Sunday school, it is not actually all meant to be read the same way.
I'm starting with Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson (who wrote/translated The Message.) And we'll see where I go from there. I don't have a definitive start date because, frankly, I'm burnt out from goals and the like. And I don't want this to be another source of guilt and "how far have I gotten today?" It's not about that right now. I may be starting tomorrow or next week or Thanksgiving--I have no idea and I really don't care. What I care about is being brave and learning to really, really trust God, that he is who he says he is. I've just gotta know.
The music was playing softly behind me as I typed this post, so soft I could barely hear it over the rumbling thunder outside. And as soon as I finished typing, for whatever reason, I reached out and turned up the volume. It was not set to Christian station but, of all things, a reggae singer was crooning, "Don't worry, child, God is so good." Over and over and over.
Don't worry, child, God is so good.