likeagoodchristian
I used to be a good little Christian. I knew all the Christian-ese. I had a few key scriptures memorized. I did all the things good Christians do – I read my Bible pretty regularly, I went to church every Sunday, I listened to worship music in my spare time, I memorized popular Bible verses. I was really good at acting like a good Christian. And I counted it all as merits in my honor. I was doing a God a favor, I guess.

I used to think that there were levels of Christianity. Growing up in church, I was exposed to all kinds of Christians. The eager new Christians. The complacent Christians who were born into a Christian family. The wise old Christians who mixed scripture and clichés interchangeably. The obligatory Christians who were only there because someone was making them. The on fire Christians that seemed to know a scripture for every occasion. I wanted to be one of those on fire Christians. I wanted to have an answer for everything. I wanted to impress people, and God, with how much I knew.

But the key word was “knew.” I memorized scriptures, I acted the part, to get myself into that “club.” I became someone I thought I was expected to become. And while I know that His Word never goes void, while I know that despite my Pharisee-like behavior, despite my dogmatic religiosity, God was changing me, I wasn’t doing it because I thought I needed to be changed. I was doing it because I wanted to impress.

Pride. I reeked of it.

But then life happened.

There came a point where my rose-colored glasses were smashed by the well-intended and not-so-well-intended. There came a moment of crisis where I stood on the edge of a cliff called religion, looking desperately for the bridge to the other side – to real faith. By the grace of God alone, I found that bridge. He led me there. And I crossed it. Ran across, honestly.

There came a moment where memorizing scripture stopped being cute and started being a necessity. There came a moment where I didn’t want to have a bag of scriptures to throw out to impress, but where I needed droves of scripture to call on for the sake of my bleeding heart. There came a time where I no longer cared to impress and instead began to earnestly seek shelter in the secret place of the Most High. There came a moment where I laid down my crown of religious piety and picked up my cross to bear daily with Christ.

That was the moment I knew real faith. That was the moment I knew that the Bible isn’t something for good Christians to utilize for power or merit, it’s something for desperate, broken, lost, hurting, abandoned, rejected people to cling to as if their lives depend on it, because they do. The Bible isn’t meant for those who already have it together, as I thought I did. It’s for those who know they can’t get it together without Divine intervention.

It was in those moments that worship music stopped being something I critiqued for its musicality on Sunday mornings and started becoming something that brought me into the presence of the Almighty, giving me a taste of His glory, His goodness, His power, His overwhelming love. I will never forget the first time I experienced worship that literally brought me to my knees. I trembled with emotion, with an overwhelming sense of my need for Him. I cried that ugly, snotty, mascara-streaking cry that is neither attractive nor desirable in public places. And I didn’t care for a second. I knew I was smack dab in the middle of the presence of the Creator of the Universe and He wasn’t offended by my snot nose. So I worshipped. Oh how I worshipped.

If you grew up in church like I did, then you probably know how easy it is to make a religious routine. You probably know how simple it is to think you’re impressing God and others with your knowledge of the Bible and church things. But if you’re like me, that knowledge is nothing more than a pride-building lie that spreads its tentacles into every corner of your being, devouring you from the inside out. That knowledge won’t get you very far when you’re hurt, when you’re rejected, when you’re sick, when you’re broken. It might provide fleeting comfort, but if it’s not in your heart, in your gut, deeply rooted, watered daily, and growing, it will be nothing more than that – a fleeting comfort.

But when we take the Word to heart, when we let it be the Bread of life, the Water that quenches, the Breath of God we breathe in daily, we cannot help but rise to new heights of faith, of peace, of comfort, of joy, of Divine grace. That’s what I want. No more head knowledge. Deep, soulish, life-altering, mind-changing, soul-transforming faith. I don’t care about being a good Christian anymore. I care about knowing my Father in a way that drowns out all the rest of the noise the world throws my way. I care about resting in the arms of the One who loves me unconditionally. I desire deeply to press into the mind, the heart, the character of the Creator of the Universe. It is there and there alone I will find my hope.

sissymen-01

One of the many random courses that I was required to study in my otherwise useless degree was Inter-Personal Communications. Although it had little to do with the direction I had planned to take my Communications Degree of Radio / TV / Film, this class was one of my favorites. It was taught by an atheist professor that didn’t like me and my “preachiness” (as he put it) very much. But, oddly, I really liked him. He fascinated me.

He looked almost exactly like Christopher Walken, but somehow, with an even surlier demeanor. He was dry and slightly bitter. But he was well-spoken, and despite his liberal tendencies, spoke of by-gone times and by-gone ideals for which he longed. He was a walking contradiction and I suppose that’s why he fascinated me.

I had seven courses with the man, mainly because the communications department in my university was paltry at best. (Serves me right for choosing an agricultural school to study Communications, I suppose.) Inter-Personal Communications was the very last course I took with him, in the very last semester of my college stint. One of my favorite topics we discussed in that class was the phenomenon of role-reversals in today’s society. His beef was with the fact that he couldn’t seem to get his wife to submit to him as he wished. But for me, the study opened my eyes to a big problem in society as a whole.

We are cheapening men down to nothing more than accessories and we are asking women to fulfill the roles of both the man and the woman.

Gone are the days where “father knows best.”

Go turn on your TV tonight to any current major network television show. Tell me if there is one where the father in the family (if there is even a nuclear family anymore) isn’t an idiot. I can sum up the major comedies of the last ten years like this: goofy, somewhat unattractive yet slightly endearing man meets super smokin-hot woman in college. They get married during their drug and party experimentation phase and somehow come out of it a well-rounded, happy couple. The show picks up somewhere in the middle of their child-rearing phase of life. Now the husband is fat and stupid, spending his time looking for ways to get out of annoying family expectations like, you know, dinner at the table. The wife is still smokin-hot, way too skinny to have had so many kids. Her super-mom status has her running a household, rearing the children, working full-time, and somehow still having the energy to workout like a fiend, dress to the nines, keep the house magazine-ready, cook every meal, and offer hot, steamy sex to her husband whenever the mood strikes. She is perfect and her plight is that she has to be subjected to her painfully unglamorous family. But no matter, she finds her identity in her job and that’s what keeps her sane.

Sound familiar? It’s the plot line or premise for any “family” comedy or show on TV today. And it’s quite telling of the role-reversal phenomenon of modern times. Here’s a fun experiment for you: go turn on your TV. Now just watch commercials. See if you can find even one where the man is portrayed as the head of the house. Even cleaning commercials make men look like a bunch of imbeciles, for goodness sake. Gone are the days where “father knows best.” Instead, father is a gamer who drinks too much beer and resorts to asking his wife what to do and how to think. Mother is the head of the household today. And somehow she is supposed to both manage a perfect family and hate the concept of staying at home all at the same time.

Today’s woman is expected to have a perfect body, perfect home, perfect children who NEVER act up in public, and a husband who shuts up and knows his place. And today’s husband has little more expectation than to sit back and watch it all happen, beer in hand.

Bottom line: we are becoming a generation of sissies who shouldn’t be allowed to call themselves men, and a generation of women with unreasonable, unattainable expectations. And it’s destroying our society.

It’s high time we get back to the Biblical principles of the nuclear family, where the man is the head of the household and the woman submits to him. I know submission is a dirty word to most women today. But submission doesn’t mean, “Yes, sir. Whatever you say, sir.” It doesn’t mean you don’t have an opinion, ladies. On the contrary, it means that your opinion, along with your husband’s, is submitted to Christ. And it means that together, you seek His will for your home.

Submission is impossible for a woman when she’s married to a boy.

Submission isn’t abuse. It isn’t for a by-gone time. It isn’t outdated and embarrassing. It’s life-giving and absolutely necessary if we are going to experience the fullness and joy that is supposed to come with marriage.

But that’s just it – we’ve lost the concept of marriage, too. Marriage is no longer a life-long commitment before God. Now it’s a “as long is it’s easy” half promise before friends. And that comes from the fact that we’ve stopped asking men to be men and started asking women to do it all, perfectly, without mistake or complaint.

The thing about submission is that it brings about a partnership between the husband and wife. The thing about submission is that it means that neither of you is facing life alone. You are in this together, you are working together, under Christ, to face the trials, the joys, the losses, the triumphs life brings. The thing about submission is that it is absolutely imperative to success in marriage.

But submission is impossible for a woman when she’s married to a boy. But it’s awesome, fun, exciting, sexy, and downright unbelievable when she’s married to a man.

So men, step up. Put down your game controllers and be the man in your home. Love your wife the way Christ loves the church. Put her on a pedestal and revere her as the beautiful woman she is. And lead her in Godliness with the Holy Spirit as your guide.

And women, learn to submit to your husband, even if he’s not “submit-worthy” just yet. The humility that comes from doing what the Bible teaches even when it’s not easy will bless your marriage more than you can imagine right now. And stand by and watch the fruit that comes of it.

And parents, step up and rear your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to be ladies. Don’t shy away from chivalry and manners. Don’t be slow to ask your sons to step up and take responsibility for things around the house. Don’t be hesitant to ask your daughters to be lady-like. Teach your sons that a woman’s worth is in her heart, not her cup size. Teach your daughters the same. Give your children real responsibilities and expectations. Let them fail. And then use failures as learning opportunities, not belittlement opportunities.

If we can get our homes back on track, the rest of the world will get back on track, too. In fact, most problems of the world (if not all) stem from the home. Want to reverse the trends of socialism so prevalent today? Teach your kids to take responsibility for their actions, pride in their work, and face consequences with grace. Want to teach the world that they need Jesus? Teach your children. Consequently, you can’t teach what you don’t know, so make sure you’re not setting expectations in your home that you’re not meeting yourself.

That’s our job as believers – to start in our own homes. And that starts with a long, hard look at ourselves and what we need to get right with God, submit to Him fully, and let Him change in our way of thinking. After all, if we, this generation, don’t, who will?

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. – Romans 12:1-2

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly. Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged… Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. Colossians 3:18-20, 23-24

didnthavetimeforgod

I was too tired to read the Bible. It put me to sleep.

I struggled for a long time. I felt like a failure. I looked around me and saw my Christian friends reading the Bible, growing, learning, praying, in what seemed like a perfectly disciplined faith. I felt like I couldn’t live up to that anymore because I was a mother. What little time I had to myself, I was too tired to read the Bible. It put me to sleep. I felt so guilty that reading the Word of God put me to sleep, but it did. I had an infant. And then a toddler and an infant. I just couldn’t find the time or the motivation to read regularly. And the guilt was eating me alive.

Growing up, I remember my pastor saying not to feel guilty if you ever fall asleep reading the Bible. “What better way to fall asleep than in the arms of the Father?” he would ask. True, I thought. But if you never read more than a sentence before you fall asleep because you’re so tired that a moment of stillness is like a sleep aid, you begin to think maybe that sentiment doesn’t apply to you.

And so the guilt piled higher.

This went on for a few years in my life. I still prayed. I still worshipped God in the car, listening to my favorite live worship albums. I still went to church. But I felt like a colossal failure because I couldn’t seem to find the time to actually read the Word of God. I knew that’s where the power was. I knew that was what I needed to go to the next level in my faith. And I just couldn’t seem to have a breakthrough.

If you’re a mom reading this, you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. A moment of stillness is like a fine wine – you cherish every sip, every second, like you’ll never have it again, because truth be told, you may not. Throw in the obligatory daily Bible reading and it seems like an insurmountable mountain to climb. It might as well be Everest.

But I have good news! There is a way to be a mother of young children and still nourish your walk with Christ in a meaningful way.

I was listening to a sermon from my pastor in my car one time when I heard him talk about his son. He said that his son was given some advice when he was a young entrepreneur – to get a copy of the Bible on audio and listen to it as much as possible throughout the day. My pastor laughed that his “cheap” son bought the King James Bible on audio because it was only $9 as opposed to $50 or more for the other audio translations. And because of the Elizabethan language he was immersing himself in day in and day out, he began to speak like Shakespeare. “How goes thou, dearest brother?” he would say. Pretty funny.

But that funny little story flipped a light on in my stubborn brain.

My faith doesn’t have to be defined by the actual physical act of reading the Word right now. I can listen to it instead! What a concept!

It’s so simple, and yet for me, it was profound. I am just in a tired season of my life. A busy season. A season of dirty diapers, and tantrums, and messes, and cries, and more messes, and more dirty diapers, and sharpies on the wall, and jelly on the floor, and rocks in my cup, and… you get the picture. Sitting down to read anything, while it sounds luxurious, just ends up being a recipe for sleep. Glorious sleep.

Any parent will tell you that the car is one of the few sacred places left where you can actually do a little thinking once you have kids.

So when God showed me that all I have to do is listen to the Bible, it opened up a whole new world for me! Now, every morning when I’m getting ready, I whip out my handy little smart phone and turn on my free audio Bible (any translation I want!). I listen to a chapter or two while I’m putting on my makeup. It’s awesome! I get to have a few moments to myself and immerse myself in the scripture all at the same time. It has become my favorite part of the day.

But it hasn’t stopped there. Whenever we drive, I listen to the Bible on audio some more. Any parent will tell you that the car is one of the few sacred places left where you can actually do a little thinking once you have kids. They’re strapped down, you see. They can whine all they want, there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re on the highway going 70 miles per hour. You can’t take their shoes off for them or find their monster truck. You have a legitimate excuse. And it’s a perfect time to listen to the Bible! (Plus a bonus: you’re immersing them in the Word, too!)

I live thirty minutes from my church, an hour and a half from my parents and generally twenty minutes from anything else I want to do, so needless to say, we’re in the car a lot. I made it through Leviticus that way.

The point, my sweet friends, is that your walk of faith doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. And in fact, it won’t. And that’s great! If you are in a season of life where sitting down to read anything, even for five minutes is out of the question, don’t fret. Find another way. There are endless resources out there. Even if it’s just a simple five minute devotional read from a free app, you can find a way to be with God each day. But I’ll forewarn you – it will only leave you wanting more! (What a great problem to have!)

And don’t let Satan keep you from reading the Word by making you feel guilty like he did with me. He robbed me of several years of meaningful growth in my faith by telling me I was too busy for God and by telling me that if I didn’t have an hour every morning before everyone woke up to sit in a quiet place and read and study, it wasn’t worth my time. But when your infant wakes up four times a night, what exactly is the definition of “before everyone wakes up?” See, that’s his plan – not to turn you to him, just to keep you from God. And he’ll use any means necessary, believe me. And a steaming pile of guilt is one of his favorite tactics with me.

Take back your walk. Don’t fall victim to preconceived notions. Ask the Lord today to show you how you might incorporate him into your day, everyday. And see if you aren’t radically transformed and blessed because of it.

If you would like to download the Bible app I use for audio (and reading), check it out here. There’s a kid’s Bible by the same company and it is awesome, too!

inthewilderness

When you can’t feel God, believe He’s there anyway.
When you can’t see God’s hand, believe it’s there anyway.
When you can’t understand God’s plan, trust it anyway.

That’s faith, friends. It’s easy to see a person of faith and assume they just walk on a bed of roses, perhaps blissfully unaware of the issues around them. It’s easy to look at someone else’s life and say, “Yeah, good for them, but they have no idea what real suffering is. They have no idea how hard my life or situation is.”

But they do.

How do I know? Because they’re human. And the human condition has always been the same. And whether we deal with unexpected illnesses, unexpected deaths, unexpected job losses, unexpected betrayals, or on and on, one thing is true: when it happens to us, it hurts worse than when it happens to someone else.

He may very well be keeping you somewhere you don’t want to be in order to protect you from somewhere else you don’t need to be.

Trust anyway.

That’s it. Trust God when you don’t want to. Read the Bible when you’re mad at Him for not answering you. Pray when you don’t think He’s listening. Do you know why? Because He is. And He cares deeply. And when you’re in a situation that seems impossible, or unredeemable, it’s not. And He may very well be keeping you somewhere you don’t want to be in order to protect you from somewhere else you don’t need to be. Or He may very well be letting you learn a few lessons before you destroy yourself and everyone around you. He knows now. He’ll tell you when you’re ready.

There have been more times than I care to admit that I’ve had to pray anyway, trust anyway, believe anyway. And it has always paid off. Want to know why?

Because I believe in the God who CREATED THE UNIVERSE. No big deal, just the UNIVERSE. And His eye is on the sparrow. How much more so on me?

Wow. God, give me the peace and grace to trust You despite me. That’s all I really need when I face the things that make no sense.

You can have the rest. Give me Jesus.

In Gethsemane the holiest of all petitioners prayed three times that a certain cup might pass from Him. It did not. After that the idea that prayer is recommended to us as a sort of infallible gimmick may be dismissed.” -C.S. Lewis

atheistsdontexist
It’s a new year, and while most of us are probably wrestling with our resolutions and how we are going to finally execute them this year, I have a challenge for you. Instead of a resolution, how about you have a revelation?

Scientifically, you can’t be an atheist.

My pastor told a story once about sitting on a plane next to an atheist. He challenged the man by telling him that he thought atheism was scientifically impossible. You can hear his witty banter here, if you want. Or you can read my summary.

My pastor challenged the man by pointing out a few facts. First of all, scientists tell us that the smartest human being probably possesses two percent of all knowledge. That’s everything there is to know about everything – science, history, language, human tendencies, philosophies, everything… about everything. In every culture, all around the world. Everything that has happened, everything that is happening now, and everything that will ever happen. Think about that. And the smartest of all of us probably only possesses about two percent of that knowledge. He went on to point out that in order to say that there is no God, you would have to have all knowledge. Sitting on the plane next to the atheist, my pastor asked, “Is there a chance, in the 98% of knowledge that you don’t possess, that God exists?”

I absolutely love this. It’s true isn’t it? Atheism is scientifically impossible. You can be an agnostic, sure. You can say “there probably isn’t a God.” But you can’t emphatically say, “there is no God.”

When he asked the man the question, he responded, “Well, yes, I guess there is a chance that God exists. So, okay, I don’t know if there’s a God.”

Is there a chance, in the 98% of knowledge that you don’t possess, that God exists?

My pastor’s response? “Well I do. Would you like to know something about Him?”

(Pause for a moment and giggle if you need to. It makes me smile, too.)

You see, there’s a big problem in claiming that God doesn’t exist, because God is Absolute Truth. If you claim that there is no God, you are claiming that there is no such thing as absolute truth. And by making the claim that there is no such thing as absolute truth, you are in fact making an absolute statement. You’ve cancelled yourself out. Do you see that? You can’t claim there are no absolutes, because the claim itself is absolute.

If there is absolute, then there is God. There is no getting around this.

A Confessed Skeptic

I’m a skeptic. I never take things at face value. I chew on things and then chew on the cud. I think about the ways of the world and then I think about them again. And then I think about them some more until I’m blue in the face. It’s just my nature. So if I were to say to you that there haven’t been times over the years that I wrestled with the very existence of God, I would be lying to you.

I have definitely wondered from time to time if this is all for naught. But there are two things about this God business that I know to be true beyond a shadow of a doubt.

One.
When it comes to God, He is all about changing lives. I have seen it in people around me my whole life. And until it happened to me, I didn’t know if it was true or if they were just crazy people looking for attention. And perhaps some of them were. But the point is, when my life was radically, drastically, unequivocally changed by God Almighty, all my cynical, skeptical arguments for logic and reason of why it’s possible that God might not exist were thrown out the window. Something happened to me. I was going one way in life and made a sudden one-eighty the other direction. It was radical. It was transformative. It was life-changing. Say what you will about the scientific arguments for or against God, but you can’t argue with someone’s life being changed from the inside out. And there is no way to describe something like that other than by divine interpretation. And unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it’s easy to question. I would know.

Two.
My great grandfather is famous (in my family, anyway) for saying that he had come to the conclusion that even if it’s all a farce, even if it’s just a bunch of bunk, believing in God was worth it to him. For in what universe would it be a waste of time to live your life with peace, joy, love, and kindness to strangers? On the other hand, if this is real and you doubters are wrong, what then? I’d rather die and find out it wasn’t real than die and found out it was.

I know many of you who are reading this are self-proclaimed atheists, or perhaps agnostics. I’m not here to argue you into believing in God, nor am I here to scare you into getting your “fire insurance.” I am, however, here to challenge you to think past your own calculations of the known universe. Is it possible you’re wrong? Is it possible you’re missing something? And if so, isn’t it worth a try?

For me, God saved me from a life of the devastation of pride. I was wallowing in it and it was eating me from the inside out. I was completely unaware. But one day I saw it for what it was and it scared me, for I knew the hold it had on my life. I was eaten up with self-righteous, religious piety, and I hated myself for it.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this God is real, alive, active, and madly in love with us, His creation.

But on that day, God showed me that His grace is sufficient for even me. He showed me that He loves me too much to let me ruin myself. He showed me that He wants me, that He has a purpose for me, that He isn’t done with me.

And so I turned around. I took the plunge. I gave my heart to this Jesus and never looked back. And since that day, I have seen miracles. I have been blessed. I have walked places I never thought I’d walk, seen things I never thought I’d see and felt a peace deeper than I could ever explain in words. Above all of that, I have become keenly aware of a redeeming, transforming Love that is unending for me. That’s all I need to know that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, this God is real, alive, active, and madly in love with us, His creation.

What about you? What is 2014 going to hold for you? Are you going to stay where you are? Are you going to look up and realize it’s February 3rd and you’ve already failed at your resolution? Or are you going to do something for yourself that’s better than any resolution? If you don’t believe in God, why not make 2014 the year you at least opened up your heart to the idea of giving him a chance? Just crack the door open. See if you’re not overwhelmed by the warmth, peace and power of the light that shines in. A revelation resolution.

Oh what a happy new year that would be!

dangerousbiblegames
It has been fascinating reading the comments you are writing on the posts I’ve made about Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty debacle. I love reading all the different perspectives, yes, even the ones I don’t agree with. But I have seen a recurring theme among many of the comments as well as other articles I am reading, whether they are from Christians or non-Christians – and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

We play dangerous games when it comes to Christianity. In my view, there are two main games we play that are both destructive and damning. One: we add things to the Bible. Two: we take things away from the Bible.

Whether by falling into one category or both, when we decide to pervert the Bible with our own interpretations, however well-meaning, we are playing with eternal Hell-fire, no pun intended.

What am I talking about, exactly? Let’s break this down.

The Danger of Addition

We’ll start with the category of adding things to the Bible. There are lots of religions out there (of which I will not name here for the simple reason that I don’t have time to list them all) that add things to the Bible. They claim things like, “yes, the Bible is true. So is this (insert random religious text or philosophy here).” Their extra-biblical documents serve as “clarification” for the things of the Bible that are difficult to describe or understand on their own. They are authored by men (as is every book in history except the Bible) and often contemporary writings (by contemporary I mean from the last few centuries). It is from these groups that most of the world’s cults appear. However, you don’t have to be of a cult to add things to the Bible and claim them to be true.

The danger in adding anything to the Bible is that you suddenly blur the lines of Truth. When do you stop? If there are truths that “pair well” with the Bible based on your own opinion, why don’t other “truths” pair with the Bible in my opinion? Why is your opinion higher than mine? Let’s say you’re a scholar. Does that make your opinion higher than mine? Let’s say you’re a very devout, religious person. Does that make your opinion higher than mine? Or higher than someone else’s? Where does it stop? And who’s to say who is right?

The thing about God is that, well, He is GOD. He gets to decide what Truth is. Not me. Not you. Not anyone well “learned” in any specific subject. Because if Truth is up to humans, then there is no such thing as Truth for it is subjective to passing whims, trends, and ideas over the millennia. Truth is either infallible, or it isn’t truth. Therefore ANYTHING outside of the Bible that is paraded as “just as true” as the Bible, is indeed NOT.

The Danger of Subtraction

The other category is of those who would take things away from the Bible. These are the folks who would say that we don’t really know what certain passages mean, or that certain passages are just metaphorical, or that much of the Bible is just folk stories that didn’t really happen. The danger here is similar to the danger of adding things to the Bible. Who am I to say what’s true and what’s not? Sure, I’m a person of intellect. I can read the book of Jonah and come to the conclusion that it seems highly improbable that a man was swallowed by a fish and lived to tell the tale. But who am I to say that it DIDN’T happen either? I wasn’t there. Neither were you. And why couldn’t it have happened? After all, if the God who CREATED THE UNIVERSE wanted me to hang out in the belly of a giant fish for a while to learn my lesson, I’m pretty sure He could get me out alive, too.

Aside from the fact that using the Huffington Post as your authority on the Bible makes about as much sense as using a high school student’s 300 word paper on rocket science as your authority on the science, I decided to click and read.

The danger in cherry-picking what’s true in the Bible is that you fall down a slippery slope where the Bible means one thing to this group and another to that group. The Bible stops being absolute Truth and starts being an ancient self help book that is about as trustworthy to stand on for your life’s problems as Swiss cheese.

Here’s case and point. I read something the other day by a well-meaning friend who was pointing out that we don’t “really know what the Bible means when it talks about [subject intentionally removed†].” This person then provided a link to a Huffington Post article entitled, “What Does the Bible Really Say About [subject intentionally removed]?” Aside from the fact that using the Huffington Post as your authority on the Bible makes about as much sense as using a high school student’s 300 word paper on rocket science as your authority on the science, I decided to click and read. The article cited all of the scriptures on the subject, both Old and New Testament, most of which say things blatant like “IT IS AN ABOMINATION.” Their conclusion? Well, we don’t know if that’s what they REALLY meant.

Really? This is your earth-shattering conclusion about a difficult topic in the Bible? We don’t REALLY know what they meant?

I don’t know about you, but I would not want to bet my eternity on a twenty-first century’s online editorial about the possible nuances of Biblical sentence structure. Seems like a losing proposition.

The Bible, The Whole Bible, and Nothing But the Bible

As for me, I don’t have time to wonder what’s true and what’s not in the Bible. It’s either ALL TRUE, or ALL CRAZY. That’s really the only scenario that makes sense to me. And I don’t want to hear the argument that it’s all in “how you interpret it.” There is no difficulty in interpreting, “[Insert Biblically-cited sin] is an abomination.”

It would seem to me that the only reason to pick and choose what is true in the Bible is to justify our own sins. And it may even be as simple as just choosing to ignore certain parts of the Bible as opposed to redefining them. I know several pastors who were in the depths of an affair still preaching the Word. Did they say that the Bible doesn’t say adultery is sin? Oh no, they instead justified their actions by saying that they were really in love with their mistresses, but not with their wives.

So that makes it all ok, right?

Wrong. I’m not going to pretend to be intellectually on-par with a being who created the universe and orchestrated divine intricacies like photosynthesis and the miracle of conception by saying I know when He was just being metaphorical. Or ironic. Or sentimental. I’m going to play it safe (smart, rather) and assume He meant every word He said. Either that or I’m going to assume He meant none of it. Otherwise, I’m not doing myself or anyone else any favors by claiming to have correctly interpreted the subtle and subversive nuances of the Almighty God. I’ll leave that up to Him.

†If you’re wondering why I removed the subject of discussion, I wanted to make sure this post sticks to the intended purpose: a discussion of Biblical interpretation. I did not want to chase rabbits of the nuances of specific topics of the Bible. (At least not on this post.)