The most persistent question I find myself thinking about lately is, “what are you going to do about this book? [The Bible]” This timeless, mystifying, violent, inspiring, anger-inducing, pulse-escalating, explicit, imbuing, peaceful, clashing, countercultural, unexplainable book? The finite capacity of my intelligence cannot perspicaciously explain it. I cannot comprehend the fact that I arrived on this planet on a day that I have no memory of, where this book would be given to me five or six different times in various translations, where I would have to deal with questions, lots of them. What emphasis will this hold in my life? Will I join in heated arguments over this book’s etymology, hermeneutics, syntax, and translation? Will I tell someone that,”no, this is what [Paul] really meant,” or will I patiently listen to a fellow human being trying to do their best in figuring out how to apply 2,000 year old teachings to this present moment in society? Will I walk, simply and peacefully in the words of Jesus? Will I accept that there is violence, genocide, infanticide, and graphic murder in here committed by a God who is described as, “love?” Will I join in on this life-long conversation between God and myself or will I keep this book shut? Will I pretend there are no difficult-to-swallow passages? Will I blindly accept that this book is “true and inerrant” like I have heard proclaimed so frequently? Will I allow myself to be pulled into a deeper story, lulled by the love of a Creator, my creator? Will I choose not to fight against the propensity my heart has towards a God I can’t explain, a spirit that daily sustains and comforts me? Never have I read anything like it. Never has one book generated so much discussion, animosity, and unity for as many years as this one. Who really wrote it? Sometimes I wish I could be around one of the first circles to hear the teachings of this book; before printers and book presses, gathered around the fire with my family, friends, and teachers, inspired by the faith that’s sustained the people before me, and the people before them, until you’re staring at the start of it all, the first moment of creation. “I’ll tell you how the sun rose one ribbon at a time…”
I will wrestle with you on this one, Lord… some days it may look like a junior varsity wrestler preparing for the first match of the season, and other days, it will look like two kids laughing and splashing in a pool, on top of each other’s shoulders, blithely playing Chicken Fight, or whatever it was called. And some days, the wrestling will stop all together, as we will roll down hills, lay near river banks, and climb trees together, singing about Amazing Grace and Flying Away.
I’m thankful you’re patient with me, Lord, as I try to figure out my best response to this book. May my life be different because of it. May my life be challenged because of it. May my soul be satisfied with rich mystery and wonder, and shun the trite and quick ‘answers’ commonly associated with this precarious position of being a person of faith. And lastly, may I come to know you, may I be moved by you, may I be loved as your child, until we meet together face to face, laughing about the old days…
I love you.