A Typical or Atypical Pastor's Wife-whichever one you come to believe

Welcome to the barnyard. Watch your step! The things written here are raw and unedited. Just my thoughts thrown on a page as they flow from my heart.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The "Anything You Want Him To Be Bible"

Warning!  This is a vent or a rant of a righteous nature and it does contain tart sarcasm.  The surgeon general has made no ruling on sarcasm, but I thought I would warn you anyway.

First-The Rant!

Although I don't find most of the items I'm going to list offensive in some ways, I think that they are totally unnecessary and even damaging on certain levels.  Truly, I did not read any of these.  I did take exception to the image of God that they present.  We need to quit trying to make the Bible palatable by appealing to our whims and start making our whims palatable to the God of the Bible.  I'm not against presenting the Bible in different ways, especially to children who can't read, but this reeks of trying to re-package God in a way that strokes our sinful nature in hopes that by osmosis, something of the Spirit will seep in. 

Why not just put the Bible out there and let people read it?  It's worked through all the centuries that the Bible has existed!  We're not going to improve it.  It's perfection just the way it is.  You're not going to change a person's mind about a spiritual God by packaging Him in with something of this world that they admire or desire.  They must seek Him all by themselves.   It'd be better to let them open a Bible, pure and simple, than to distract them by adding things of this world that they find appealing.  It defeats the whole purpose from page one!  Instead of finding a Bible that presents God in a way that is palatable to people, why not just read the thing so that you will be palatable to God?

Now, the explanation.

I was searching for a Bible on a popular Christian book site.  There were over 4,000 entries under the keyword "bible".  Yep, 182 web pages of Bibles!  I wondered to myself "what's this all about?"  So I took a little time and flipped through.  What I found is that there is a Bible for every race, color and creed upon the earth.  As if we need a Bible tailored to our favorite color, favorite preacher, gender, age, hobbies, or dysfunctions!  Here are just a few I found.

The True Identity Bible for Women 
Now the only Bible I currently own is "The Holy Bible", but it says that when we are in Christ, we have no identity.  There is no Jew, Greek, slave, free, man or woman.  We died! We are simply part of the body of Christ and HE is our identity.  I do not need to be "uniquely me".  I need to let Him be "unique" in me.  IT'S NOT ABOUT ME--IT'S ALL ABOUT HIM!  I don't need to discover me.  I did that once and I did not like what I found!  I need to search for and find Jesus and who I am in HIM!  The Bible does a more than adequate job of this all by itself.

The Jewish Bible as opposed to what?  The gentile Bible??  Wasn't the church warned against identifying themselves with one preacher or another.  What's even weirder about this is that the preachers of both these Bibles is the same person!  I get the whole "you can get more meaning if you understand it from a Jewish standpoint thing", but a study Bible will handle that just fine.  If we are saved, Jew or Gentile, we are one in the same.  In the same body.  In the same church. Why should Jew be separate from Gentile?  Didn't God declare us all clean?  Am I saying that we should forget our heritage???  Hold on to your sacred cow!  YEP!  That's exactly what I'm saying.  We are all of the same bloodline.  We all belong to the same kingdom.  We all have the same king.  We are all His subjects.  Jew and Gentile alike will stand together at the throne of God.  I honestly doubt that there will be a Jewish section and  a Gentile section. 

I appreciate Jewish history probably more than most.  I love to sit and listen to born again Rabbi's expound on the Word of God.  (I highly recommend Rabbi Schneider of "Discovering the Jewish Jesus").  But...we do not need a separate Bible. "Well, it's the same Bible dummy."  I heard that!  My point is that when we choose to departmentalize ourselves into smaller groups, it does bring division and almost always animosity to some degree.

 I belong to Ravelry.com, a needlework site on-line.   I love to knit.  I can crochet, but much more prefer knitting.  So, when I'm on ravelry, I exclude crocheting from what I read because I don't do it.   I appreciate that there is such a thing as crochet and I appreciate the talents of those that crochet, but I just don't hang with them even though they are part of the needlework network that I know as ravelry. 

So keeping this thought in mind, here are the rest of the Bibles that I looked at.

Becoming--a Biblezine!  Now that's rich!
"Want a new you in the New Year? Tailoring transforming truth into a cutting-edge women's magazine format, this take-anywhere "Biblezine" brims with practical tips for fitting your life to your faith!Easy-reading NCV text * Articles on worship, beauty, men, health, career, relationships, and more * Size: 8" x 10.75" x .75" * 400 pages, softcover from Nelson"

This infuriated me so much I don't even know where to start!  If the only way one will read the Bible is if it is presented in the same seedy format used by gossip rags, and worldly, fleshy magazines, then they shouldn't bother!  If they read it simply to improve themselves, then they are way off base!  The Bible is not a book about what God can do for us.  It's about what we should and can do for God because of who He is, because of what He's done, and because He is worthy of it and we're not!

I know that God can use just about anything to bring a person to Himself.  But this is just appealing to a part of us that should be prepared to die if we truly want Christ.  There is a cost to salvation.  Sure, to gain it is totally free and there is nothing that we can do to earn it.  But once it is ours, there are things that have to happen and those things cost us, and make us uncomfortable, and yes, they kill us!

Teen study bible
I get the need to make things relative for the reader.  But I was under the impression that this is what the Holy Spirit is for.  I guess after all this time, the Holy Spirit is out of touch with the younger generation.  I guess all the younger generations of yesteryear were really not younger after all because they seemed to be touched by the same Bible the adults were reading.  Hmmmm....who knew?
C.S Lewis Bible-as if the bible is not thought provoking enough!  "The C.S. Lewis Bible pairs thought-provoking meditations from C.S. Lewis’s spiritual writings with corresponding passages from the authoritative NRSV Bible. This one-of-a-kind Bible for devotional reading, reflection, and inspiration is perfect for readers of Lewis’s Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters, or his other works of seminal Christian writing. Fans of Lewis’s widely-beloved allegorical fantasy series, the Chronicles of Narnia, will love this chance to engage with the author’s more deeply spiritual side after reading favorites like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader."

Hmmm....I thought the purpose of reading the Bible was to engage with God's more deeply spiritual side.

The words "devotional reading, reflection, and inspiration" caught my attention.  What about reproof, correction, and just a good swift kick in the pants when one needs it?  Probably if people would read the Bible looking for ways to get changed more than looking for a way to change things, we would be much closer to our goal!

The Charles F. Stanley Life Principles Bible " is designed to lead believers into a life-changing relationship with Jesus Christ and into growth and maturity. The Bible is built around thirty life principles that Dr. Stanley has gleaned from the Word through his years of Bible teaching and pastoral ministry."

No offense Chuck, but I don't need to read about your 30 life principles that you hijacked from the teaching of Jesus.  I can just read them for myself, with the light and direction of the Holy Spirit.  I appreciate all your hard work, but I cannot get revelation knowledge from your 30 principles unless they are first breathed into me by the life giver Himself.

The comic book Bible
This is just too over the top for me to even comment on and remain a Christian.

Horse Lover's Bible-"What girl doesn’t love horses? Filled with beautiful features and photographs, horse lovers will be inspired by this NIV Bible."  Inspired HOW????  I'm sure that I will want God SO much more if I think He's a horse lover.  If He loves horses, He has to be good. 

Since when do horses inspire us to seek God?  Someone is spending way too much time wading through the barn poop and breathing in the fumes!

The Apologetics Study Bible- "will help today's Christian better understand, defend and proclaim their beliefs in this age of increasing moral and spiritual relativism. More than one-hundred key questions and articles placed throughout the volume about faith and science prompt a rewarding study experience at every reading.
Highlights of this new thinking person’s edition of God’s Word include the full text of the popular Holman CSB® translation, an introduction to each Bible book focusing on its inherent elements of apologetics, and profiles of historic Christian apologists from Justin Martyr to C.S. Lewis. Also featured are valuable contributions from a who’s-who of modern apologists such as Chuck Colson, Norm Geisler, Hank Hanegraaff, Josh McDowell, Albert Mohler, Ravi Zacharias, and many more  (photo)"

I'm not against apologetics, but when they supersede the reality of the experience that we have with Jesus Christ, it's nothing but wood, hay and stubble.  Man never has and never will understand spiritual things through natural or intellectual means.  Although I highly revere the men listed above, there is nothing that can defend the Bible more than the working of the Spirit and witness and testimony of one believer to another.

I've seen Ravi Z. in person many times.  I enjoy listening to how brilliant he is.  But he is so beyond me in brain wave length that I can hardly remember anything he said after he's done that I could actually use in witnessing, yet I'm able to lead people to Christ anyway just by telling them who He is and what He's done for me.  We can go out armed with all kinds of information and not get one single soul saved.  In fact, I have found that the most effective soul winners are people who are newly saved who know absolutely nothing except that they were once lost and now they're found.  Their passion, zeal, and obvious change says enough about what happened to them and it is very inviting.

Here's a novel idea!  When Jesus and disciples preached the Word, signs and wonders followed.  Perhaps we should just know the Word enough that it is power in our lives and when we witness to people and pray for them we should actually expect that something miraculous and supernatural is going to happen!

"But that doesn't make sense!"  EXACTLY!  The supernatural never makes sense!

Celebrate recovery Bible-"The Celebrate Recovery Bible is an ideal real life spiritual guide for those struggling with the circumstances of their lives and the habits they are trying to control. Featuring a special foreword written by Rick Warren, this Bible includes articles that explain the eight recovery principles and accompanying Christ-centered twelve steps, 30 days of devotional readings, and over 50 full-page biblical character studies."

Hmmmm....I must have the Reader's Digest Condensed version of the Bible because I can't find anywhere where Christ used a 12-step program to help someone.  I don't see anywhere that there were meetings scheduled on different nights in different cities to move from one step to another!  All my Bible says is that He touched them, or He spoke to them and they were fixed-completely-forever! As far as I can tell, Jesus had a one step method.

The American Patriot's Bible-"THE ONE BIBLE THAT SHOWS HOW ’A LIGHT FROM ABOVE’ SHAPED OUR NATION. Never has a version of the Bible targeted the spiritual needs of those who love our country more than The American Patriot’s Bible. This extremely unique Bible shows how the history of the United States connects the people and events of the Bible to our lives in a modern world. The story of the United States is wonderfully woven into the teachings of the Bible and includes a beautiful full-color family record section, memorable images from our nation’s history and hundreds of enlightening articles which complement the New King James Version Bible text"

Volumes have been written on how we, as Americans, tend to mix God and country to the point of heresy.  Suffice it to say, we have a rich heritage, but our laws and political system do not always align with scripture.

I think the Bible also "targets the spiritual needs" of those that don't love our nation as well.  In fact, the Bible targets the spiritual needs of human being that has ever or will ever exist!  And last time I read the Bible, the only nation God is "connected" to is Israel.  There's no covenant made with America.  It's as if they think the Bible validates America or America validates the Bible. 

I am a patriot.  For heaven's sake, I even have an NRA membership!  But I in no way mix love of country and love of God.  Our country has in the past and will probably in the future fail us as Christians.  Then what?   

My Princess Bible "shares stories of 19 women of the Bible through a rhyming story and a short takeaway summary in prose. Each story ends with two lines that remind the reader of valuable character traits of a princess; the little princesses are even encouraged to recite the learning of the biblical princess using her name in the blank instead: “________ is God’s special princess; ________ is sad when she does something bad” (the takeaway from the story of Eve). This format helps children see biblical women as princesses who teach us about godly principles. It also helps reinforce that the little girl reader is special and seen as a princess because she is created by God. The final story (number 20) is taken from Psalm 139 and features the reader as the godly princess. It reminds the reader that princesses are daughters of the King and are loved by God. Little girls will love to read My Princess Bible over and over to learn about God’s princesses

My Princess Bible is based on the popular format of My Pajama Bible. (OH goodness!) The new board book combines princess-like art of women of the Bible with art more reflective of the modern-day princesses who will learn of biblical women."  (A recipe for dysfunction!)

And we wonder why our children are self-centered and struggle so much with self image!  We mourn over the number of "princesses" that struggle with eating disorders, cutting, sexual promiscuity etc.  What happens when God actually wants them to see themselves as sinners in need of a savior?  What then?  He appears as the wicked witch of the west and they want nothing to do with Him!

Every woman needs HUGS! " This Bible is a great gift for any reason, for any season, and for any woman in your life. Give a Hugs Bible and give the gift of encouragement all year long with over 250 inspiring devotionals licensed from the writers of the giftbook series that has sold over 7 million copies."

Oh my soul, my soul, my soul!  I can't take any more!!!!

If you want someone to get interested in the Bible, why not try the ole tried and true way that is sanctioned by God and has been consistently effective throughout the history of the world?  Get down on your bony knees and pray!  A few sacrificial hours of prayer will far supersede a few dollars spent to get a person in the Word.

If you say you want God just dust off the uninteresting looking Bible you got as a vacation Bible school prize, open the pages and READ!!!!!!  You'll be surprised at how the Holy Spirit will be able to speak to you without the aid of comics, horses, little warm fuzzy devotionals, deep intellectual treatises, and kudos from men who are talented writers or speakers.  He promises that "if you seek Me, you will find me, if you seek me with all of your heart!"

Okay, I feel a little better now.  Please excuse my sarcasm and indignation.  It just hit me the wrong way!

I've decided to re-glue and re-tape my old Bible--one more time.

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