For the Bible Tells Me So
Nigel had a super loaded sermon this morning. I was watching on zoom because I'm leaving soon for a festival with friends who attend a different church. I had framed my post for this afternoon differently until Nigel was wrapping up his sermon saying that at our church we believe in the Bible - but that we don't presume to know everything about it already.
I teach my students that the Bible is Jewish meditation literature written to be read over and over, giving us new Holy Spirit inspired insight each time as we dig into a more comprehensive understanding of the text. And that it changes us. The title of our textbook is Read the Bible for a Change, and Ray says the emphasis should be on that final word. Change. I am more like Jesus now than I am the last time I read through the Bible. There are some sticky and complicated passages in there; they challenge me, and I have to give up my ideas in order to be made more like Christ as I mature and grow. I read a reflection this morning that compared ageing to ripening - as much as it annoyed me to graduate Bible college without all the answers, I have ripened in my faith. There is good fruit being borne in and through me because I keep digging into the Scriptures and let them form me.
This week I will be starting my "controversy" project with my students. I revised the guidelines to be more developmentally appropriate for this particularly rowdy group, but my objective is the same: I want them to be more kind in how they enter conversations with those who disagree with them. I've seen a disturbing level of unkindness in church conversations surrounding difficult passages of Scripture. Reading the Bible has led me to be more compassionate towards those who hold different views than I do; I still want to point them to Jesus.
Any of you among the praying sort, please do pray extra as this project gets underway. I've experienced a considerable amount of what we call in Christianese "spiritual attack" several times while teaching this. I want my attention to be on Christ my master, and I want to bring glory to his name - for the Bible tells me so.