Elemental Season 1 - Day 8

"Following The Bible"

Do you follow the Bible? I think we all want to. 

There was a journalist by the name of A.J. Jacobs, who wrote a book called; “The Year of Living Biblically.” and I got a chance to hear him speak after I read the book. It was fascinating. He was an interesting guy and had written articles about outsourcing his life for a month and other interesting experiences. But on this one, he decided that he wasn’t going to interpret what the bible meant, he was just going to try and live as literally following the scriptures as he could. As you can imagine, it led to some pretty interesting experiences. I highly recommend you read this book. 

But it begs an interesting question. Do you follow the Bible? Do we pick and choose what we follow? 

The truth is that it is very difficult to “follow” the bible, and no one really does. We take the opportunity to interpret what the scripture says to us in our own context and in our own understanding. Of course, we do this, we have to do this as we live in this time, not that time, we speak our language, not their language, and we can’t go back to what they were experiencing when the scripture was written. The best we can do is to seek an understanding that both helps us know what life was like back then, and find ways to apply principles now. 

We all bring our own drama and baggage to scripture, and to God. In fact, we are supposed to do that. Is it any wonder that God became human? God seems to understand our humanity and he is okay with it. 

But our struggle is often with our understanding of how we are supposed to think about faith. Let's go back to that orthodoxy question. Are we at times too tied to the way that we think we are supposed to think about faith? 

I grew up in an academic home, which is all about thinking. My parents and their friends talked and thought about God. Some did it for a living. They pondered, wrote books and articles, and taught classes about how to think about God. And they changed a great many lives. Some of you reading this know the people I am speaking of: Rick Rice, Charles Teel, Bailey Gillespie, Madeline Haldamen, Paul Landa, and the list goes on and on. 

I don’t want to denigrate their work, I won’t. But for me, experiencing a deep and thoughtful approach to thinking about faith was important. But as I reflect I wonder if they transferred the very essence of their understanding of faith. You see, they were so brilliant because they were faithful to their growing and expanding knowledge and doubts about God. It was that interplay between what they knew and what they didn’t that kept them curious, kept them asking questions, and never really allowed them to have “settled” faith. I am forever grateful for their intellectual and faithful curiosity. 

But did their students understand they were not simply transferring information, rather they were helping their students to not only think the right things but to approach their faith with a genuine curiosity that drives them to ask more questions, rather than to rest on the knowledge that we already have? 

I hope so because that is what I caught from them. 

  1. Are you curious about your faith in God? 
  2. Do you feel like you have “settled” faith? 
  3. What questions drive you back to scripture again and again?

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