At a young age I was mesmerized by the Bible. This passion eventually turned into a way of making a living that continues to sustain my wife and I for 33 years. During this time two questions occasionally would arise and pester me. “What role do sacred writings play in our culture today and is the Bible still relevant?”
For some Christians, the answer is definitively, “Yes.” The Bible is a type of cookbook for life. Depending upon what dish the occasion calls for, one can flip to the appropriately tagged section and there awaits a list of perfect ingredients and reliable instructions. For example, a recently engaged couple desires to know how they can be a good Christian spouse. She discovers Ephesians 5:22-24, “Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.” The husband to be reads a few verses later (Ephesians 5:25-27), “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.” It’s a simple yet tasty dish. Wives submit. Husbands love your wives.
For other Christians, because of irreconcilable differences, they choose to divorce a literal view and reading of the Bible. The discovery of two creation accounts in Genesis 1-3, along with other challenges that arose from their 21st century education in the arts and sciences, created tension with the Bible that they tried to work through. Some even sought professional help. The fall out from this type of divorce can be messy and impact family and friends.
Some abused Christians cannot imagine any future interaction with their abuser. One victim states, “Why should I spend one more minute engaging a so-called sacred text that was used to traumatize and shame me? A text that is still weaponized against my existence? I have no desire nor obligation to redeem the Bible in any way shape or form.”
Perhaps you now grasp the turmoil that rises within me when those two questions I shared earlier with you intrude into my mind. I was traumatized by the literal view of the Bible I inherited. I chose the divorce route. Fortunately I found the strength and support to live through this ugly experience. Today I live with a new view of the Bible. The intimacy we share enhances my life in many ways. My view of God, myself, and all forms and shapes of life is new and healthy. I have a lightness about me missing before. The “fruit of the spirit” I read about so many times in Galatians 5 and aspired and prayed for, seem to be naturally blooming within me. My sacred text and I continue to enjoy each other's company and value the time we spend together each morning. This is why I continue to share this new view of the Bible with others. It changed my life. I am convinced it can do the same for you.
When you return to this blog, don’t be surprised to find the occasional entry providing insight into this valued relationship I now have with my sacred writing, the Bible.