______________________ LIFE, FAITH, ETCETERA

Back on the Shelf August 14, 2011

I believe, as stated in 2 Timothy, that scripture is useful.
But until people can see that divinely inspired does NOT mean divinely dictated, inerrant, or perfect; and until people start
to see that the Bible is not an “owner’s manual,” “playbook,” “rules for life,” or any of those other crazy things; and until the
Bible can be seen as an unfolding, progressive revelation of God that did not end with the “canonization of scripture;” until
people have a better understanding of how to approach, understand, and interpret the Bible; until AT LEAST we get that far,
I’m close to believing we should put the Bibles back on the shelf and leave them there. That could easily encourage people into
having a close relationship with God, instead of with a book.
— df


“We’ve gotten ourselves in a mess with the Bible.”

“First, we are in a scientific mess.  Fundamentalism…again and again paints itself into a corner by requiring that the Bible be treated as a divinely dictated science textbook.”  “This approach has set up Christians on the wrong side of truth again and again.”  “Many pious people deny our environmental crises by quoting Bible verses and mocking science.  Just as they were the last to acknowledge the rotation of the earth and its revolution around the sun, they’ll be the last to acquiesce to what science is telling us about our growing ecological crises.”

“Second, we are in trouble in relation to ethics.”  “…we are stuck now…largely obsessed with narrow hot-button feuds (eg. abortion, sexual orientation, nationalism, genetic engineering) that end up being little more than litmus tests for political affiliation.”
“In the United States, white Evangelical Christians are the most fervent advocates of government-sanctioned torture and…frequent churchgoing is a statistical indicator of support for torture.”

“Third, we are in deep trouble relating to peace.”   “When careless preachers use the Bible as a club or sword to dominate or wound, they discredit the Bible in a way that no skeptic can.”
“It’s an old and tired game:  quoting sacred texts to strengthen an us-versus-them mentality.”  “In case after case in the past, there is a kind of Bible-quoting intoxication under the influence of which we religious people lose the ability to distinguish between what God says and what we say God says.

—-  Taken from “A New Kind Of Christianity” by Brian McLaren. Buy the book HERE.



Baby Smashing: 101 April 24, 2010


“Bless The Baby Smashers?”
By Bert Gary and David Foreman

Do you want to claim all the blessings of the Bible? I’ve heard pastors telling their congregants to claim this very thing. But I have reservations. And I raise my reservations in order to question common assumptions about what the Bible is and how to interpret it.

Now I like this blessing:

Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble. (Psalm 41:1)

But look at this one:

Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
(Psalm 137:9 – ESV)

Do I really want to claim all the blessings in the Bible? I realize the Bible assures us, “For every one of God’s promises are “Yes” in him; therefore also through him the “Amen” is spoken, to the glory we give to God.” (2 Cor 1:20 – NET) But obviously I can’t claim the right to be a blessed baby smasher, can I? Houston, we have a problem.

As I have grown to love and trust the Bible, I’ve come to understand that the Scriptures “plainly” say a lot of things. But, where I see us frequently getting off track is when we fail to realize that, if not reverently cautious to read Scriptures in context, we can read the Bible saying a lot of things that the Bible “plainly” doesn’t say.

— Read the rest of the article. Click HERE: Does The Bible Really Say That


Pure Religion May 28, 2009

Filed under: Religion,Scripture — lifewalkblog @ 6:21 am
Tags: , , ,

Ok. So you take a stand against man’s religion, and what’s the first thing you hear?

That’s right; James 1:27.
“Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their misfortune and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” – NET

The hundreds of verses, many chapters, and various books of the New Testament, written to directly combat legalism and authoritarian religion are virtually ignored. Talk about selective quoting. This verse no more justifies religion than Luke 14:26 justifies hating your parents.  When a passage seems to go against a truth clearly and repeatedly taught in Scripture, then we must assume there is something being addressed on another level.

Of course, much of the confusion in understanding scripture lies in a wrong approach to the Bible in the first  place.
[See also, “A New Kind of Christianity” and “Velvet Elvis.”]
Scripture calls itself good (for training, doctrine, etc). It is not the “end all” in knowing God. we must draw near to Him, and let Him reveal Himself to us. Let Him reveal truth to us. There is so much more to God than the Holy Scriptures. Idol worship is when we worship anything other than God. Many Christians treat the Bible an additional object of worship; a fourth part of the Godhead.
His Word is alive, active, more powerful that a double-edged sword, and not confined to any book. It’s not about the letter. It’s about life in the Spirit.
I do believe the Bible is divinely inspired by God. There is divinely inspired poetry; divinely inspired metaphors; divinely inspired simile, and, yes, that which is divinely inspired to be taken literally. Understanding these different literary styles is vital. And divinely inspired does NOT mean divinely dictated. Big difference.
We must always take into consideration the original audience, as well as the human authors. We must look at the context of the surrounding passages; the letter in general, and (this is very important) the context of the story of God, and his provision of salvation by grace.

The NIRV really brings out the crux of James 1:27. It says:
“Here are the kinds of beliefs that God our Father accepts as pure and without fault. When widows and children who have no parents are in trouble, take care of them. And keep yourselves from being polluted by the world.”

It’s like saying, “So, you think your pretty religious. Well, your better off paying attention to things that really matter; like taking care of the needs of others. And don’t let the world, it’s sin, or it’s religious systems get between you and God.”

Jesus’ greatest detractors were the religious people. Paul battled the “Judaizers,” who tried to rob people of their freedom in Jesus. Today, the battle still rages. Religion was, is, and will always be in opposition to Jesus. God has set us free from sin AND religion. “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!”


Here’s a good definition of religion from Greg Albrecht:

The popular, common denominator of religion is the idea that humans must do, perform and produce works, deeds, virtues or behaviors as stipulated by rituals, rites and regulations. The idea is that having performed ceremonies, having followed religious prescriptions, priests, pills and potions, then God is more pleased with humans than he otherwise would have been. This is the fundamental difference between biblical Christianity and religion in general (whether it be a non-Christian religion, or a practice which claims to be Christian). The gospel of Jesus Christ insists that God does for us what we cannot do for ourselves. We are, according to the gospel, incapable of pleasing and appeasing God on the basis of our works. That is the definition of religion that PTM uses– and opposes, for it is the enemy of the gospel.


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