Monday, August 19, 2013
Uncut: The Bible We Thought We Knew
Many of us have fond memories of attending Vacation Bible School as kids. The snacks were good and it was acceptable to be loud and silly in the church building.
And if your VBS was anything like mine, you learned about the great heroes of the Bible. Noah, Jonah, and Elijah were some of the most vivid stories I remember. I put these men on such high pedestals.
Until...I read the Bible...the whole Bible. And I realized most of those Biblical heroes were scoundrels that God somehow used for his glory.
Jonah is a terrible preacher who hates lost people. Isaac is sandwiched between two dysfunctional generations of family members. Abraham is a compulsive liar who knows when to pass his wife off as his sister. Paul is a religious terrorist. And David knocked out 7 of the 10 Commandments in one weekend.
Children's Bibles can be a hazard to your faith. It's one thing for an 8-year old to read one, but there comes a time when you have to set the Children's Bible aside for the real story.
Children's Bibles serve a great purpose. They play the same purpose that radio-edited music serves in your car with your children. The Adventure Bible filters out the objectionable content in the Bible. And if you don't believe there's explicit content in the Bible, then try reading Song of Solomon as a bedtime story for your kids. That's one way to ensure you have the "birds and the bees" talk sooner than you had hoped to have it.
Children's Bibles are appropriate for...well...children. But they're not appropriate for adults.
So, over the next few months at Littleton, we're going to hear the "uncut," unedited stories of the great "heroes" found in Scripture. Because while many of us think we know what's in the Bible that we defend at all costs, a closer look might reveal that we don't know it as well as we need to.
There's lots of reasons why people don't come to church. But I think one of those reasons is that we've inoculated our children to the true power of the gospel with our VBS and Children's Bible stories. We told our kids that God uses perfect people (superheroes) to accomplish his vision for the world, people like Noah, Jonah, and Elijah. And if God used them, then we assume he can't use us...unless we put up a brave facade of perfection.
The good news of Scripture isn't that God can use perfect people for his glory. The good news of Scripture is that God somehow uses broken, corrupt, messed up people for his glory.
And when we know that truth about the Bible, then we're empowered to trade in our facades of perfection and confess that we're broken too. And if we'd take off our socially constructed personas of perfection, then perhaps new people would start to realize that Christians aren't perfect. Instead, Christians are people in process and everyone is invited to join in.
Below is a link to a teaser for "Uncut." Check it out!