Does the Bible Do Strange Things to You?
by Chris on January 1st, 2013

Does the Bible do strange things to you?  Like make you angry, confused, or offended?  Does it cause you to ask questions?  Or do you find that it affirms mostly what you already thought?  It's a comfort and safety?

Consider this quote from Thomas Merton, "It is of the very nature of the Bible to affront, perplex and astonish the human mind.  Hence the reader who opens the Bible must be prepared for disorientation, confusion, incomprehension, perhaps outrage."

I think we are numb to the Bible.  I'm sure it started before this, but I think the moment we turned the Bible into a guide book, road map, an answers-all-your questions-in-three-verses-or-less magic 8-ball, we lost the true weight of these stories about our God, his people, and our faith.  It is so much deeper, more mysterious, confusing, and confounding than we act like it is. And we miss out on true intimacy that comes from diving in deep.  Those not of our faith lose out because we act like the Bible is something it is not. 

I like to think I know the Bible, but as I get older and I read again I find there's a lot more there.  It's kind of like color blindness.  I found out before kindergarten that I was color blind.  Not grayscale color blind, but I have troubles with red/green, blue/purple, yellow/orange, brown/green and more.  So I quit learning colors.  Don't tell me where so-and-so is by saying, "He's over there by the girl in green."  I probably won't find so-and-so.  But in my late 20's I realized I could distinguish between more colors than I thought I could.  You see at age 5 I quit learning my colors.  Thought I had it all figured out...at least as much as I was ever going to. But I didn't.

And that's kind of how I've been with the scriptures at times, and I bet some of you have too. You got your theology from your time in church over a defined span (childhood, adolescence, those first few years after your 'conversion').  Then we go out to live out our faith. When we return to the Bible we come with so many things settled that we're not looking for what's really there. And we wonder why we get so stuck in our lives sometimes.

And so as we enter this New Year, would you join me in asking God to help us see more colors?  To see if, as Thomas Merton said, the Bible affronts, perplexes, and astonishes us.  To find a deeper faith and a bigger God and world than we knew before.

Shoulder to Shoulder,

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