So last night, David Plotz was on The Colbert Report. He's recently authored a book called "Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible"
Not a big fan, just being cynical of a cynic. Probably because of my bias as a believer. But the title sounds like he's bragging an accomplishment akin to climbing a giant mountain by reading a book written specifically for all humanity to read. Something is definitely wrong when the book originally written in a language meant to be understood by even the uneducated is considered so esoteric that a man can write a book about his experience of reading it.
But I'll probably end up getting the book (once I'm finished with my online course) and reading it, and I think it's an obvious warning to comfortable Christianity.
Why a warning? Because here's a man who's familiar with religion, and not anti-God (it seems he's Jewish, at least as far as labels go). He read through the entire Book that we believe to be God revealing Himself to humanity, and where does he find himself?
"You notice that I haven't said anything about belief. I began the Bible as a hopeful, but indifferent, agnostic. I wished for a God, but I didn't really care. I leave the Bible as a hopeless and angry agnostic. I'm brokenhearted about God." (from his article in Slate Magazine)
Reading/memorizing scripture is great. Sunday School is good. Bible studies in schools are swell. Reading chunks of the Bible on a daily basis is a fine idea. But this does not promise a journey towards an experience of the Kingdom Jesus Christ came to proclaim.
Church - we need the Spirit of God to pour through our lives, and to bring New Creation Flesh to the words found in Scriptures. To be living examples of the power, and love, and grace, and mercy, and Truth found in the Old and New Testament...and communities sourced in that Life.
I'm certain there is not an equation. Nothing we can point at and say, "do this", and someone will naturally find the Life-giving Truth found in Jesus Christ. But I'm pretty sure this book is a testimony that throwing a Bible at someone, even a well translated one, won't do the trick.
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