Friday, June 28, 2013

Does the Bible need an update?

"The book is wrong" my math students would proclaim indignantly back in my yonder years of teaching at the local high school. How did they know this? Well, the books answer didn't match their answer so of course the book was wrong. Was it? No. Most likely they had made an error. Maybe it was a computational error, maybe they skipped a crucial step, or maybe they used a faulty method leading to a wrong answer.   But rather than redo the problem, ask someone who knew more, or dig deeper into the concepts involved, it was just easier to decide it was the book that needed to change. It must need an update.  Now while there may have been a typo in this math book regarding an inconsequential number, the essentials of the book, the math theorems, the math definitions, those have not changed. 

We are living in a world where I hear this all the time. The Book is wrong. It needs an update. It's answers don't match mine. But this Book  isn't  just a three year old math book put together by some pretty smart math guys that might contain some errors. The Book accused of being outdated has proven true for over 2000 years. Proven true. 

But let's go back to the math book for a minute. Imagine this scene with me. A student, Jenny, raises her hand in Algebra class and with certainty proclaims, "the book is wrong." So I check it out, look at her work, and point out the procedural error and try to move on. "No," she insists, the book is wrong, I like my way better, it makes sense to me" So I call in the head of the math department and teacher of calculus to try and explain to no avail. "No" Jenny decides. "I want to divide one side of the equation by 2 and divide the other side by 4. I know you are saying that I have to divide both sides by two to keep it equal, but that was then, this is now. It is equal because I say it is equal. I am going to divide only one side of the equation by 2 and I declare that both sides are equal. Those math laws work for you, but they don't apply to me." 

Do you see how ridiculous it is for an algebra student to debate the veracity of math laws with a someone who has studied math and all of the complexities of math for longer then said student has been alive?  No , these laws are not up for debate. They have already been vetted with rigorous proofs for hundreds of years by the greatest math minds of our time.  

Likewise, the Bible has been proven, its standards have been set for thousands of years.  So if you want to start changing laws and standards established since the beginning of time, you better have more sound reasoning than "it works for me."

Psalm 119:160 The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.

********P.S. for the answer to the question "how come you Christians decide to follow some laws in the Old Testament but not others"  look at this link for a complete and exhaustive answer.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Isn't that nice?

It is a very common thing to hear someone say that the Bible is just a nice book of stories. But I am here to say that this could not be further from the truth.  As a homeschool mom with 5 children,  we are not unique homeschoolers in the fact that we house a small library within the walls of our home filled with many many stories. None of the stories, however, tell me to worship anyone or fear anyone. None of them spend 176 verses of a chapter talking about how excellent that specific book is.  The Bible could be described as many things, but a nice book of stories it is not.
If I was writing a nice book of stories, I would have left out the book of Judges entirely. Yikes. Reading through the Bible took me there, and it was not easy to get through. It was not nice. Was it Important? Yes. Powerful? Yes. Inspired? I believe so. Nice? Nope.
For exhibit b, lets take a look at the book of Psalms. No, you say, surely one could describe the Psalms as "nice" ? Right? Who hasn't been comforted by the reading of Psalm 23 in a time of great distress. "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death....finish it with me.....I will fear no evil" No, I will not yield. It is not nice. What is it then? Well, look with me at another portion of Psalms, 96: 2-6
2 Sing to the Lord, praise his name;  proclaim his salvation day after day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,  his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Oh c'mon! That's nice isn't it? No!! I repeat. This is not nice. This, these words, can only be one of two changing or craziness. That is it.
For me, and countless disciples for over 2000 years, this, these words are life. They are miraculous. They are present, past and future. They are perfect. But they are not nice.
Let's get real. I look at other beliefs, like those that would say you need to wear holy underwear that you can never change, and I have never thought, "oh, that's nice" Or others that say the ant I just killed could have been an aunt from long ago, and I don't ever think "oh, that's nice."  I am going to be honest. I thinks it's crazy. And you know what? If you look at me and said I was crazy for praying and singing  to a God I can't see I would actually be ok with that.  It would make more sense for you to say that, then to say, "well, thats good for you, but not me". Reading through Psalms tonight I couldn't help but come to this conclusion.  How do people not take a definite stance on this? One way or the other?
"Sing to The Lord" ?
"Proclaim His Glory"?
If one of my children's books, had a chapter at the end, that told me to get on my knees and worship one of the characters in the book, I would not consider that nice....
I also cannot think of a story whose main character is worshipped, real time, 2000 years after walking the earth.
I am not alone in my sentiments. Revelations 3:16 reveals that God would rather we be hot or cold, anything but lukewarm.
You see when you are fully devoted to Christ, and to His word, His presence is clear, His existence undeniable. At the other extreme, however, when you hit rock bottom, explore the uttermost to get so far from who He claims to be you will see that there is no other option than His truth. But in the middle. Where we are told to coexist, and let each person have their own truth. This is the danger zone.
In the book of Joshua, he proclaimed to the people, "choose you this day, whom you will serve" Choose.
Very little of the Bible lands in the "nice" zone. It can only qualify as  "change your life" powerful, or utter foolishness.
So if you find your beliefs system in the middle, here is my challenge for you. First, you have to know that everything is on the line here, everything.  And next start with the words "if You are real God...." My own mothers journey started with those words, and she was blown away with God's desire to show Himself strong.
Open the Bible, start in John.
Check out this video, of an atheist journalist who launched a two year investigation and see where it lead him.
I pray that you would "choose Life" as Joshua hoped. But whatever you do, don't be in the middle. It is not a nice place to be.