Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Bible

For the past couple of days, maybe even weeks I feel like I don't have the same connection with God like I have had in the past. Not that I feel disconnected or even stagnant; I just feel like I haven't been growing like I should even though I have been doing my devotionals in the morning and praying. For one, I feel like I have been selfish in my prayer like praying a lot about myself.
Which isn't a bad thing but I feel like I should be less selfish in my ways and pray about others more than myself. Lately, I have felt like God has been so distant like a god I don't even know even though I see the great things He has done in my life and the conversations (and movies) he has spoke to me through.

Today I picked back up a book that I haven't touched since the beginning of summer called Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller. Chapter 4 really talks about the Bible. Miller talks about how us Christians see the Bible as a self help book rather than a love story or beautiful. He also talks about how modern Christians like to make list. We like to have steps for example: 1) Start going to church 2) Learn who Jesus is 3) Accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior 4) Get baptised. We like to have thing broken down for us so we can say we checked off another thing on our list. Miller even says that "[he] grew up believing Christians didn't have to love God or anyone else; he just had to believe some things and be willing to take a stand for the things he believed." That breaks my heart that the gospel was presented that way, like a ticket into heaven will be enough. What's even more sad is that some Christians know that acting that way isn't enough but they still will not change the way they act or live.

I realized the other day that the Bible is kind of hard to read because it is written in a way that our books are not written. Books are written in list or sequential form, and the Bible is not written like that at all. Well, the Bible sort of is, but it is written in a more poetic fashion. Miller says that "poetry is a literary tool that has the power to give a person the feeling he isn't alone in those emotions, that. though there are no words to describe them, somebody understands." Going back to list, Miller gives the example if you make a list of all the great things about your girlfriend and recite it over a candle light dinner it is not going to be as romantic as if you would write her a poem describing the way she is rather than just listing. That's the way God acts. Miller says as Christians we like to break things up so it can be easy to understand but if we break things up too much we lose the meaning. Miller, "list might [be] accurate, [but] it certainly [are not as] meaningful."

God is wrote a love story for us and we try to break it down to the basics and turn it into list. Miller says "the separation of truth from meaning is a dangerous game." My favorite quote Miller says is "perhaps if we stop reducing the text to formulas (lists) for personal growth, we can read it as stories of imperfect humans having relations with a perfect God and come to understand the obvious message He is communicating to mankind."

We cannot break down the bible into list of how we should live because the meaning of the message is lost when we do because the message become simpler and that doesn't make an "impact on the way we live our lives of think about God."

What I have learned (although I already knew) is that God wants that personal relationship with us, but we water down what He has to say to us and when we do that we lose the love story, the poetic parts of His word just so it can be made simpler to us and faster for us to understand.