I am quitting the Bible, the Holy Bible, the Good Book for a year. After decades of walking with da Lawd, today, I am pausing from reading the Bible for three hundred sixty-five days.
Call it a blasphemous birthday present. Call it whatever you want. I call it an invitation into drawing closer to God; a beckoning into the wilderness with Jesus for a fellowship unknown.
Although I am quitting the Bible, I am not quitting Jesus. You might wonder, “How is that even possible?” Good question, Honey. I shall strive to find out.
In the Beginning
Quitting the Bible has been on my heart and stirring in my spirit for a while.
I threw the possibility out there to my husband. My husband is a man who blogged daily, covering the entire Bible for a year. He is a man who for several years read the Bible in its entirety at least three times a year. He consistently gets up daily before the daggum rooster crows to read, including the Holy Bible.
Nevertheless, he responded with love and affirmation. Yay! He has not let the Bible turn him into a contemporary one-man Inquisition.
In full disclosure, I felt afraid.
I felt at peace with God with divine love, yet my fear derived from what my Christian friends would think. As I contemplated the matter, I concluded that if my relationship with anyone relies upon strict adherence to a rule of thumb, scriptures or not, then I question the substance of it.
When I place appeasing people over my walk with God, I have made them idols, and God no longer reigns in my heart. The Bible is not something to read to please God and people. Certain Christians can keep their fire and brimstones, jars of backsliding cooking grease, and Holy Ghost guilt trips to themselves.
Bless their hearts.
In case no one has ever told you this truth: God loves you, even if you do not read the Bible.
Likewise, God will continue to love me through my one-year journey.
Holla back and Hallelujah.
Pass the plate.
Why Quit the Bible?
Perhaps “quit” is too strong of a word. Why would I go on sabbatical from my biblical lifestyle? Why would I depart from the sacred text anchoring my faith? Whelp, I have grown weary of the denominational fights and gross misuse of the Bible to justify egregious actions. I am tired of the ways we use the Bible as excuses to live in bigotry and congregate in unified self-righteous spiritual blindness.
Furthermore, I feel grieved by how the Bible has long been propped up as an idol used to control and manipulate people in the name of Jesus Christ, for it has been a prideful tool for the insecure and greedy to exact power with partisan intransigence. Grief fills my heart for the contemporary Western Church, deceptively considering ourselves as paragons of spirituality, while blinded by the turning pages of our favored Biblical translation.
From my observations, it appears that everyone and their grandparents-Scratch that.
Errrbody and their grandma have scripture to support their perspective.
I would not be shocked to find masses of people in need of laying down their Bibles, like their burdens by the riverside so that they can follow Christ. When people take the Bible so literally that they believe that the men who wrote the book became some robot or even channel, where God automatically wrote through them, as if their perspectives and sociocultural influences had no part, we strip humanity of the living breathing Word of Life. We lose sight of the beginning and end of the law of the God is love.
If we were like the early Church, or the people when Jesus walked the earth, with low literacy rates and without mass printing of the Old or New Testament, how would we live? How would we follow Christ? How would I follow Christ?
These questions represent a fraction of the ones I have posed to myself or God. Instead of preaching for other Christians to put down their Bibles, take up their crosses, and follow Jesus, I am doing it.
I am unhinging myself from the ways I might have even subconsciously made the Bible the rule of law in my life, quenching the liberty of the Spirit. I am allowing myself to see how approaching the Bible as a manual or rule book has morphed the tender areas of my heart into latent tablets of stone.
What Am I Doing?
I am not picking up my Bible to study or read it for a year. Each week, I shall share a reflection/check-in. Therefore, it will be a separate post from my usual musings that typically occur later in the week.
Frankly, I shall keep you updated if my eyes begin to glow in the dark or if my head starts spinning in three hundred sixty degrees with my tongue wagging with feverish ramblings from a soul bound by the powers of the evil one.
If I read a book or an article, listen to a podcast or radio program, or watch a movie or documentary and scriptures in the Bible are mentioned, I am not going to run away like mad and smite my eyes and ears. If I scroll through social media and see a friend’s post containing scripture, I am not going to practice self-flagellation by hitting my back with chains, visit a priest for a confession, castigate myself, or thrust my laptop or mobile device into a raging fire.
In other words, my intent is not to reinforce obsequious yielding under a self-imposed yoke of law for the sake of a journey of freedom. I seek to explore the possibility of following Jesus-that is to hunger, thirst, and seek God, apart from studying the Bible.
With this said, today is the first day of my one-year journey. I am taking a deep breath. Next week, I shall let you know how the initial seven days went. Selah.