I stopped kidding myself

18 02 2007

dusty-bibles-sign.JPG

I spent years believing that the Bible was an important book as a Christian and yet doing nothing about it. I ignored it totally.

And then one day I decided to stop pretending and start reading it as often as I could. As I opened myself up to the words something quite incredible happened.

I had a massive and profound realisation: reading the Bible is not about getting information but of being transformed.

God making me more me. God has a plan for me, and one key way this plan unfolds is through Him teaching me via the Scriptures.

This may sound rather simple but for me it was a profound mental step to make. Studying theology, my pastoral ministry, starting a Christian Community – years of striving as a Christian had all been done with the information perspective firmly entrenched. I battled on, lacking solid food and relying on experience and opinion.

Now I draw deeply from the well and find that slowly but surely God is changing me into who He designed me to be.

Now reading the Bible isn’t so much a chore as a privilege.

Mark

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15 responses

19 02 2007
Beryl Anderson

Love the sign “Dusty Bibles make dirty lives.” Welcome to Jack, enjoy the extra pairs of hands on hand.

19 02 2007
Mark Brown

Thanks for signing up Beryl! Jack is such a pleasure and a joy. I look forward to showing him off sometime soon.

Mark

20 02 2007
isaacme

GREAT POST! Very thought filled. You’re right, reading the bible isn’t supposed to be about “checking of the box.” Its about drawing closer to a truly awesome God.

20 02 2007
g

I had a massive and profound realisation: reading the Bible is not about getting information but of being transformed.

I’m doomed to play devil’s advocate…
I’m worried that his sort of logic is how we end up with the organisations like the Taliban.
I wish you kept your intellect involved, discuss many points of view, engage all ideas and grow as a person. Oh and by all means learn from the bible.
But treating it like a magic book that will transform you sounds a bit wacky to me.

20 02 2007
Mark Brown

G’day g,

Can you tease out a bit when you say, ‘I’m worried that his sort of logic is how we end up with the organisations like the Taliban.’

What logic do you see in my post and how do you see this leading to the formation of a fundamentalist, puritanical, militia organisation?

I look forward to your response.

Mark

20 02 2007
g

Well, it seems to me that reading something without wanting to get information but a ‘transformation’ is to not to use your God given critical thinking. It sounds like allowing the words to subliminally affect you, somewhat unconsciously. I find that uncomfortable in any situation, a good example for me is TV!

It could be great, if the holy spirit guides you through every reading, but maybe not if it’s just you reading it… on your own. I don’t know of any teaching of that guarantee, do you?

The old testament has some pretty harsh messages, could one come to wrong conclusion? Maybe start up your own fundamentalist, puritanical, militia organisation!!? OK, unlikely but history is littered with people with pure intentions…The Neo-cons in the White house quote scripture all the time! Remember Christ said “And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.”

The Taliban reference? Well their magic book is completely beyond question, so in it’s name that can do or say whatever they think is justified. They are probably looking for a ‘transformation’ as well.
I just don’t like that sort of thinking.

21 02 2007
Mark Brown

Thanks for this g,

Someone once told me that completing a degree in Law is not about trying to learn all there is about law but about becoming a lawyer.

Clearly to become a lawyer you have to have an understanding of the philosophy undergirding law, a grasp of the jargon, an appreciation of the culture etc… but what they were trying to say is that to just have this information was not enough. A law graduate has to think like a lawyer, act like a lawyer and so on. In this sense the aim is that they go through some sort of personal transformation from high school graduate to professional Lawyer. For some this may be an easy journey, they require very little formation to think and act like a Lawyer. For others it may take years of application and reflection.

When I approach the Bible I bring my critical faculty, my intellectual curiosity, my theological training etc… but I also endeavour to be influenced and changed by the encounter.

The difference I was attempting to explain above is that now I am actively seeking this transformation.

Thanks for your comments mate. Good to think through these things.

Mark

21 02 2007
Jeff Weiesnbach

g And Mark,

The key to this is in what Jesus did between His resurection and Assention. He opened the “Sriptures” and explained them to the disciples. Revealing his work through history (His-Story)(sorry, couldn’t resist) and why the Cross was necessary.

He has now left us the Holy Spirit to do the same thing. The Word of God is living, and along with having the presence of the Holy Spirit, leads us to a very real relationship with the Father. Jesus said, “I only do that which I see My Father doing.”

If we have a relationship with the Father, the worries of what we conscider to be Extremism are moot.

The Transformation we undergo as we “read, mark and inwardly digest” the Word of God, is the development of that relationship with Him.

This in no way negates critical thinking. Our “three legged stool” of Scripture, tradition and reason actually demands it. But, in all points to which Scripture speaks, it maintains Ultimate Authority.

22 02 2007
g

If we have a relationship with the Father, the worries of what we conscider to be Extremism are moot?
Hmm…The Branch Davidians believed they were in a relationship with the father..

But, in all points to which Scripture speaks, it maintains Ultimate Authority.
How do you cope with the parts you don’t agree with?

22 02 2007
Jeff Weiesnbach

g,

The Branch Davidians were a cult who did took sections of the Scriptures and elevated them above others. They are Hyper-Dispensationalists. Your comparing apples to oranges.

As to coping “with the parts (I) don’t agree with”, there aren’t any. Plain and simple, if there is something I am in conflict with the Scriptures about, then I am wrong. As to the things I do not understand (the mystery of the Trinity, the length of a day in the creation account, full comprehension of warfare between angels and fallen angels, etc…), These are the things that I can not build a doctrine or dogma around, but nonetheless know that when I see Him I will understand.

23 02 2007
g

I see Mark is keeping quiet 😉

I’m going to answer both blogs at once since that seems expedient.

…what references in the Bible condone Misogyny and Murder. I have never read these…
That’s a good example of how the Bible is read selectively by even ‘non-cults’, like yourself.
(ref: I stopped kidding myself blog)

Mark, how does the Bible Society define a cult?
or does it, as I suspect just want to get Bibles out there.

..Slavery….is far different than what the 16th-19th century world knew…
Slavery, was unpleasant then as it was in the 16th Century, as it is now. I don’t think they had better worker’s right in 50AD! Have you seen the movie “The mission”? I have a love/hate thing with that movie. Our Christian forefathers have a lot to answer for. The Greco-Roman world was probably even worse if you got onto the wrong side.
To be fair, one of Christianity’s finest hours was it introduction to the world, the concept of
all souls being equal in the eyes of God. But it took a long, long time to come to fruition politically.

…Religion state in Article XX…
Cool quote, but again this sort of thing suggests the bible needs…interpreting. For example, Article XXXVIII I think contradicts Christ teachings, however it’s much better for designing a society, of which I suspect Christ really didn’t had much intention.
(I might be wrong on that.)

…As to coping “with the parts (I) don’t agree with”, there aren’t any. Plain and simple, if there is something I am in conflict with the Scriptures about, then I am wrong…
I don’t understand, why? How did you come to that conclusion?

24 02 2007
Jeff Weiesnbach

g,

I would like to address the final question above first.
Mark’s conclusion, “reading the Bible is not about getting information but of being transformed.”, is for any who embrace it, based on the assumption that the Bible is “The Word of God Written”. I “came to the conclusion” or rather “conviction” that this is truth because this is what the Bible says about itself. (II Peter 1.10-12 & I Thessalonians 2.13 for starters) Being transformed, more and more being re-made in the Image of Christ, is accomplished through “the washing of the water of the word”.
So, I want any disagreemant I may find myself in with the Bible to be resolved in Truth, and the only way to do this is to allow my beliefs, convictions, etc… to be brought in line with what the Scriptures say as a whole.

As to Slavery, you are still addresing the topic from a historical/geo-political perspective. What we as humans have done to each other through time is much different than what God’s Word states. Here, I am pointing out that regardless of what any society did or did not do, God allowed “slavery” with very strict guidelines, even ensuring freedom in the year of Jubilee.

Also, the idea that all souls are equal in the eyes of God it is true, was infused in more societies due to the influence of Christians. But the concept is Biblical, far predating Christianity (Exodus 23.9, Leviticus 19.33-34, Numbers 15.15-16).

As to Article XX of the Articles of Religion, rather than showing that the Bible is in need of interpretation, it is simply stating the need for study of Scripture as a whole.

As to Article XXXVIII, How does this differ with the teachings of Christ? It is true that in Acts 2.44-45 the Christians described there held all thier goods in common and distributed them to any that had a need. But it is also true that in Acts chapter 5, Ananias is told that the land he sold was his to do with as he willed before he sold it, and the proceeds of the sale were his to do with as he pleased after the sale. This is why a doctrine/dogma of communal property among believers can not be justified.

28 02 2007
marks advocate

im sorry folks but to simplify, is the bible not a collection of writings of the various disciples, and perhaps i am mislead but were they not brought together in a book format through a committee type process…..
all in all its perhaps a how to do, or if you will a self help guide……take from it what u will, but the true basis is that of youre faith and personal relationship.

15 03 2007
h

I just find it odd that there is the Bible, the Koran, and countless other “books”.

Wasn’t Jesus a Jew? And now they may have found his bones in a tomb.

Seems to me that as long as you live your life trying to be a brother or a sister toward fellow inhabitants of this planet, you shouldn’t need a reference guide to get you through it.

Be strong for yourself and others will follow.

9 04 2007
Jane

Throughout my life, I have studied the ‘other’ books -ie: Koran, Talmud and the Torah as well as others. But the Only One that I claim to be True and Accurate is The Holy Bible (KJV). I have it on this computer that I have using, I have it on DVD and I have a few Bible’s around my home. I do study it on a daily basis. It gives me understanding to what is going on and what has happened. The Bible explains and shows esamples of people and what they ‘chose’ – right or wrong; and, what thier decissions mean and ment in thier own lives. The Bible is very clear to me in my life – it helps me to LIVE! My husband and I have been so very much Bless. Example of just One such Incredible Blessing:

I was Raped with my best friend’s brother with my best friend. We were knocked out and tied up! I was only 12 – Lori was 13. I was impregnanted and my mother (being Jewish) told me that I discrased her – even though I was totally inocent of the act. She sent me to North Texas to live with her parent’s (my Grand-Parent’s). They completely understood – I continued in school and got good grades – I wanted to (and became) a nurse (later) – that was my plan. My Grandmother Loved having me there. That Summer, I gave birth to a Beautiful Baby Girl – I named her Amy (Amelia). I Loved her so much! When I went back to school – my Grandparents would watch her, then I would take over when I got home. Life was perfect! Then, when Amy was six month’s four days old – there was a knock at the door! It was the Sherrif with my mother – they took Amy – Over both of my Grandparent’s objecting STRONGLY to it. She had been given to one of my brother’s. I had not been in touch with ‘this’ brother for four years and did not know what state or where he lived. After many years -in 2006 I was married to my present husband – We found my daughter here in North Carolina where we are currently llving! She was with an ‘person’ that we had met. My husband was totally shock. Amy even lived with us for a bit. June 19, 2006 she called us and asked to come home to us. We both said yes! No one has seen her since. We did however see this one ‘individual’ drive off in her van not ten minutes after talking to Amy – she did not get back till June 22, 2006. This ‘individual’ has been in Prison before – she has been involved in the act of murder, drugs and God only knows what else. However, for a time we did get to know and Love our Daughter. We do not know today – what has happened to her or where she is – But, we did have the Miracle of meeting and now knowing her five children! They are five Miracles in our lives today! Yes, Miracle’s DO happen – Even Today – The Word of God Is True!

God Bless – Jane

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