For those who check back to see what’s new, I apologize. Clearly, nothing seems to be new in Jerry’s world. That’s far from true, I’ve just been sticking to my guns that when I don’t have anything worthwhile to write about, I won’t fake it. I’m sure that’s the sign of a poor writer. I’m sure this never happened to Tolstoy or Chaikovsky. Writing just flows from brains born to write. Right?
So, here I am on a Sunday afternoon. Kids are all outside enjoying the weather and I’ve got some time to sit and write. What about? “Aye, there’s the rub.”
I’m reading a book right now that I’m really loving. It’s called “The Importance of Being Foolish”. It was written in 2005 by a Franciscan priest named Brennan Manning. He’s got an amazing story, and you can see a little of it at http://www.brennanmanning.com/
Next month, I’m going to be delivering a 4-week series of messages entitled “Digging Deep Without Getting Buried”. This series will center around the issue of the spiritual act of Bible reading, Bible study, Biblical understanding, and Bible application.
However, its pointless to read a letter when you’re not interested in the author. And I’m afraid that the church has put a huge emphasis on the discipline of Bible reading without the passionate love affair with God that needs to preclude it. I know that Bible reading perpetuates that relationship, but if we are only shoving people to read the Bible and not fostering a deep love relationship with their Creator, then we are simply creating a “to do” type of Christianity, akin to legalism. This type of Christianity says “I’m a Christian because I…
“…go to church.”
“…read my Bible.”
“…have a fish on my car.”
Not that those things are bad, they’re just not the core of the life Jesus was talking about. Every command Jesus gave along the lines of “to do” was always born out of a love relationship with Him. So, to borrow the words from my friend Kent Julian, we are so clearly to “be” before we are to “do”. Should we pray? Of course. But who cares to talk to someone they neither know nor care to learn more about? Should we gather for worship regularly? Of course. But why bother if its simply religious ritual rather than relational and supernatural celebration? Should we read the Bible? Of course. But when we neither know where it came from (really), are frustrated by its content for lack of understanding, nor truly have the grounds on which to built that understanding, then…well, we just don’t. We know John 3:16 and figure that’s the big one, so that’s all we really need. Should we put a fish on our cars? That one’s debatable. Especially if you’re a hot-headed lead-foot.
So, before I can/will even begin this series of messages, I must surrender myself and submit myself to a deeper love affair relationship with Jesus. If I am inauthentic in this, I have no right to expect even one of my listeners to take me seriously. And so, when I stand up on week 1 and begin, it won’t be about the technical, bibliographical, archaeological, or historical facts that allow us to trust that the Bible as our truth source. I will speak only of the love of God for every person. I will begin there because not doing so can only end us up at a shallow sense of duty to read a book we don’t really “get” and would rather not read longer than we need to in order to alleviate our sense of “guilt” for not reading it. Whew.
I wish I had a nice wrap-up for this one, but I don’t. Instead of typing it up in a nice bow, I’d like to invite even more unwrapping. Would you take a second now and reply to this blog? Whatever has come to mind is all I’d like to hear.