This post is the second in a very sporadic series on “How Not To Read The Bible”, my take on the attitudes we have when we come to read the Bible and how they can get us into trouble. It has also sat in my drafts folder for over a year.
The Bible, for the most part, is a storybook. We might think it’s a book of timeless truths, or doctrines, or rules for holy living, but actually, most of it is stories: stories of wanderers and kings, stories of a man called Jesus, stories of struggling young churches. Stories which make up one big story: the story, ultimately, of God. But as part of the stories, the Bible does contain one or two rules. For some strange reason, though, we often end up reading the stories as if they’re rules.
You’ve seen it many times yourself, I’m sure. Whether it’s snide commentaries on “Biblical marriage”, or the preacher who tells you that “if you take a survey of the Bible, you’ll find that it’s in favour of corporal punishment for children”, (No, I really did hear that) people just can’t seem to see the difference between what the Bible says from what the Bible approves.
And with good reason, too… it’s actually very difficult to do so. Read more about HNTRTB: Invisible moral compass
The ever-excellent James McGrath comes out with another zinger of a post on why the distinction between “trusting the Bible” and “trusting human reason” is, in his words “utter bunk”: Read more about Trusting the Bible vs. Trusting Human Reason
Tonight our church had one of its regular celebrations, a meal for friends and family, to bless the city and prove that there is such a thing as a free lunch - or a free dinner at least. And it was good to see one or two of our friends there: I and Z, recently put out onto the streets again; J, a local boy who’s made his way into a hostel and seems to be doing well, who brought with him another lad from the hostel, B, an erudite Glaswegian, who at the last Feast seemed more at home with the cathedral’s sculpture collection than with the other guests. (“Is that a Damien Hirst?” he asked. It was.)
But this isn’t just a story of “us” doing our bit of charity for “them.” It’s much more interesting than that. Read more about Magnificat
I like Gerv’s comments; we often disagree but they often get me thinking, and often expose me to viewpoints I hadn’t thought of before. After my recent musings about sovereignty he pointed me at a John Piper article about God’s two wills. Some further tentative thoughts on that article: Read more about Clear, logical, Biblical and wrong
The same thought hit me from three different sources this morning. I’ll introduce the thought by the most oblique route, a quote from the Guardian this morning:
The administration has shifted from solidly supporting Mubarak, to suggesting he should go now, only to back him at the weekend to remain in office until the autumn – a decision that secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, reversed hours later when she threw US support behind Suleiman.
The US government is desperate to be right in Egypt. It is so desperate to be right that it is demanding a wide range of different outcomes, depending on whatever looks most likely at the time. Then when something finally happens, it can say “that’s what we wanted!”
My point is not a political one. It’s a theological one: so often we can cast God into this role. Read more about Sovereignty and responsibility
This is a rough transcript of a talk I was due to give at the Global Connections Thinking Mission forum next month. The theme of the event was due to be partnership and power relationships in mission. Unfortunately, the event has been cancelled, but this means I get to write another blog post instead.
My preferred Bible translation, by far, is the NET Bible. Not only because it’s a good, readable translation, not only because it has excellent, copious and scholarly notes providing detail of every translation decision, but because it’s free.
Well, kinda “free”. Read more about "Free" Bibles, which aren't
- Walked around shattered out of my brains, like the world’s happiest zombie.
- Just sat there holding and staring at the baby for hours on end.
- Joyfully crossed the nappy-changing Rubicon. (Although I will probably never eat Marmite again.)
- Not only been prepared to seriously defend the thesis that my baby is the most beautiful baby of all, but also that her cries are more pleasant and bearable than other babies’ cries.
- Got twitchy after a few hours away from the baby, and resorted to looking at the photos I took of the baby instead.
In the past week I came across two similar church planting concepts, one in the UK, one in Germany. Both are aimed at the millenial generation, both have what I would consider insane start-up costs of over £50,000, and both really left me cold. Which is not good, because I’m supposed to be in favour of church planting. First I thought it was just the money, but thankfully, Henrietta encouraged me to think beyond just the money and work through what was wrong with these ideas. And I think the problem is: big. Read more about Big is not beautiful