With Me

“The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it.” — GQ

GQ included The Bible in their “21 Books You Don’t have to Read” (#12). The reaction was what you would expect. Christian complaints of being marginalized. Even ostracized. It fit right into the narrative of our society — where every group feels like they are on the periphery.

But I think the article had a strong point. The Bible is this crazy mishmash. Not one book, but actually 66. Written over 1000 years (finished nearly 2000 years ago), in two languages (plus a bit of Aramaic), we don’t know how many authors (or editors). The first portion central to one religion – Judaism, the second central to another – Christianity. Contradictions abound between the two.

I love the Bible. I read it every day. Still I can write – after years of study – it isn’t good literature. As GQ writes, “there are some good parts, but… ” there are many dull parts. Many confusing parts. But being a good read isn’t the point of scripture. The Bible’s point is Jesus.

If you read it looking for Jesus – then the Bible is of unmeasurable value. But if you are reading it for fun… Ready Player One is at the Library.

Yet GQ’s article and the reaction builds to my bigger point. Our society is breaking apart. Each group is drawing their own thick battle lines – hunkering down. If we could listen, and be humble, we would understand many of the divisions are self imposed. Sure there are differences. But our insular actions are the end of community — not acts of other groups.

“I don’t want to wear fat pants!” — Phoebe

Phoebe was on the floor crying, so Meg translated the tears. All Phoebe’s skinny jeans were dirty. She refused to wear any other jeans or pants, because… well, anything else would make her look fat. Eventually we coaxed her into regular jeans and she realized she was still beautiful.

Our Society is like Phoebe. Sure the issues are much more important, but our name calling and refusal to see value in the other side is destroying us.

Since I am writing to Christians – I urge you to live out our faith. Not to live like the Bible. But to live as the one to whom the Bible points. To live like Jesus. His life was a demonstration of God’s love that reaches outward. So rather than take offense, find connections. Admit your faults. Find good in other sides. Build community.

The bible has so many stories of divisions. Keeping people out. Then Jesus arrived with grace and outreach. Live like the one who said,

“Do not stop him,” Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” (Luke 9:50)

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