quick preview of my next book, “The Bible Tells Me So” (or, respecting the Bible enough not to defend it)

quick preview of my next book, “The Bible Tells Me So” (or, respecting the Bible enough not to defend it) March 5, 2014

My next book is coming out at the end of August and the title is The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It

I lobbied for Pete Enns Tells Me So: Why Arguing with Pete Enns Is Futile (by Pete Enns), but the legal team at HarperOne would have none of that (using words like “sales figures,” “stupid,” and “get help”  in their email).

The book is just over 65,000 words long, and I am proud of each and every one of them. All that remains for me now is to arrange them in the right order and make sentences out of them (at which time I will give an exerpt or two).

Until then, here are some of the words that will appear in the book, some more than once.

  • the
  • a
  • Jesus
  • dipwad
  • Alexander Graham Bell
  • New Jersey
  • Kansas
  • Bible
  • Megatron
  • Yankees
  • Balrog
  • God
  • went
  • lawyer
  • iPhone 17
  • tube socks
  • Klingon
  • Red Sox
  • Herman Munster
  • White Russian
  • moron
  • Screen Actors Guild
  • have
  • dagnabbit 
  • Justin Bieber
  • of
  • cagefighting

That’s the first paragraph.

Here is the basic idea of the book:

If we come to the Bible expecting (as so many do) something like a spiritual owner’s manual complete with handy index, a step-by-step field guide to the life of faith, an absolutely sure answer-book to unlock the mystery of God and the meaning of life, we are setting up an expectation the Bible simply is not designed to handle.

The end product is a fragile, nervous faith. Faith like that produces stress, because it has to be tended and defended with 24/7 vigilance in order to survive—like a sickly baby robin in a shoebox. And even with constant tending, it still may not survive.

Is a life of faith in God truly supposed to be this stressful? Is this what God wants for us? I don’t think so. So let’s stop making it that way by setting the Bible up to be something it’s not prepared to be and then anxiously smoothing over the rough parts to make it fit false expectations. The cost is too high.

So here’s my not so radical thought: What if the Bible is just fine the way it is? What if it doesn’t need to be protected from itself? What if it doesn’t need to be bathed and perfumed before going out in public?

And what if God is actually fine with the Bible just as it is? Not the well-behaved version we create, but the messy, troubling, weird, and ancient Bible that we actually have. Maybe this Bible has something to show us about our own sacred journey of faith, and that God wants us to wander off the beach blanket to discover what that is.

A well-behaved Bible isn’t a sure foundation of faith, but a barrier to true faith and deep trust in God. The Bible, just as it is, isn’t a problem to be solved. It’s an invitation to a deeper faith and actually models that faith for us.

I’ll blog more about the book soon–I’ll have the cover design and I’ll give a quick overview of the chapters.


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