Don’t Wave It Around, Read It

Don’t Wave It Around, Read It June 3, 2020

Actual Picture of me Writing This Post

Goodness, after feeling like there was nothing to write about for so long, now it is hard to choose, even when trying to stay away from the internet as much as possible. Hmmm, I guess the thing that bemuses me most this morning is Mr. Trump with his Bible.

I mean, I’ve just turned in over 900,000 words about the Bible. The whole point of the effort was not so that people would hold it up awkwardly and wave it around, but so that people who feel a deep reticence, but know that they should try, would finally take the plunge and peel back the cover and start to read.

When they do this, they will always want to try to shut the cover again and stop because they will discover a variety of offensive ideas that may be completely new to them, but are nevertheless still relevant after all these thousands of years. Just to distill it down to a quick list:

  1. They are not God.
  2. They are not good.
  3. Only God is good.
  4. All the ways that they try to define good without God will lead to their own judgment and demise.
  5. Goodness defined by God rather than by themselves includes horrible amounts of judgment and even violence.
  6. The only way to be restored to God’s goodness is through Jesus whose death on the cross gathers up and judges all their rebellion and violence.
  7. Jesus doesn’t disagree with the Father and the Holy Spirit doesn’t disagree with either of them. Also, God is one.
  8. Reading the Bible is one of the primary ways that God transforms human desires from being pretty wicked almost all the time to being good.
  9. But if they read the Bible with their own categories, instead of taking those of God and being the ones to change, the Bible will remain incomprehensible and difficult.
  10. Also repetitive, the exhausting catalogue of human wickedness and God’s faithfulness is repetitive and unpleasant.

So, of course Mr. Trump doesn’t know any of this because he has never read it. But a lot of the people complaining about Mr. Trump haven’t read it either. A lot of the people saying what Christians should do and not do have not cracked it open and do not appear to know the things that it says because they themselves are still trying to establish their own goodness in public rather than also begging for God’s mercy which they need if they don’t want to perish for ever. If you feel a deep anxious compulsion for people to know that you are good and right about whatever is the issue of the moment, you should go back into the Bible and reread it with the adjusted lens of “I myself am not good, only God is good.”

I should have added to the list that God doesn’t mind if the people who love him are totally humiliated, if the world looks at them and thinks they are cursed and wrong. This is one of the more heartbreaking realizations of bible reading—God became our curse so that we wouldn’t have to be cursed forever, but once you turn to him and accept him as your own, he lets you swallow down whole tastes of that humiliation and shame. It’s part of the deal.

So anyway, for real, go back in and read the Bible again, instead of complaining about how other people are doing it wrong.


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