Kids…We love the Bible the way we love Star Wars

Kids…We love the Bible the way we love Star Wars May 18, 2016

I am confident that my great-grandkids, when they play sword-fighting, will make lightsabre “vwing-vwing” noises. But I am less confident that they will know and tell stories about the guy who got eaten by the fish or the guy with the talking donkey. Why? Because my kids know beyond doubt that my love for Star Wars is full-throated and uncomplicated, and they share in that love. But for much of their lives, they also knew that my love for the Bible was… well… complicated. My kids tend to care about the things I love. But the things I’m half-hearted about… those are the things they’ve learned to ignore.

Why has my love for the Bible been complicated? Because it’s not what I was taught it was — a series of chapters in a cohesive uni-vocal history of God providing individuals with guidance in behavior defined by a consistent moral code. In my early years of parenting, whenever I tried to tell Bible stories, I had that lens in the back of my mind, and I knew it wasn’t true, so every time we talked Bible, I couldn’t stop feeling like a total God-whore. And if this book makes Dad uncomfortable, why in the world would my kids learn to love it?


Image: Pixabay

Here’s the thing: Star Wars is no more consistent nor moral than the Bible. Did Han shoot first or didn’t he? Is Luke Skywalker a hero, or is he a terrorist who used his religion to blow up a building?

I love Star Wars because I am able to let it be what it is, instead of turning it into some kind of god. It has been hard for me to love the Bible because I have been conditioned to put it into a role it is not fit to play — that of a uni-vocal source of moral, historic, and scientific information which I am not allowed to think critically about. If I had to approach Star Wars that way, I’d hate Star Wars.

But the truth is, we have many stories, and Star Wars is just one of them. We also have Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Batman, Lord of the Rings, Hunger Games, and the nerdly list goes on and on. All of those stories give us something different. We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses telling us how things are, and wisdom lies in learning which voices work best in current circumstances. In the challenge I’m facing today, will I be Jack with his beanstalk, achieving success by daring great things? Or will I be Cinderella, achieving success by patient waiting for events beyond my control?  Who is my wisdom today – Moses speaking truth to Pharaoh, or Daniel faithful in chains?

Many stories means many strategies for many situations. Wisdom is rightly naming the story I’m in.

The Bible is that set of stories that our people have used for thousands of years to understand Reality as a place in which we encounter this interactive infinity named Yahweh. Our stories come from different voices and diverse models of how Reality works, and that is strength, not weakness. For it is in those spaces in between the stories where wisdom blooms.

I am learning to love it as completely and un-complicatedly as I love Star Wars. Yes, the Bible is harder than Star Wars, but that’s because LIFE is harder than Star Wars. That’s why we’re willing to work at it. And our faith is that the Bible is teaching us to ask good questions that will make us wise unto Life.

John Stonecypher is a husband, a father, and an unapologetic Bible nut. His current projects include building a Bible curriculum for kids (using Brian McLaren’s We Make the Road by Walking), preaching occasionally at The Journey near Denver, and impersonating Jesus on Facebook.

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