This is an article taken from Relevant Magazine which I find to sum up some of the feelings I have about the Bible. Many of these things I heard from many a church and many a speaker. The one that gets me the most is “Bible as answer book” or it could be called “Bible as Manual for Life.” This one can actually make me angry as I’ve heard it thrown around alot. It’s time to end that talk now.
Now I will post the full article as seen on Relevant Magazine written by Jason Boyett
How to read the Bible without trying to make it into something it’s not.
One of the most curious artifacts of my Bible-belted, Southern Baptist childhood was an activity called Bible Drill, in which kids in grades four through six compete on how well they know the Word of God. We’d be quizzed on our ability to quote verses, memorize references and identify passages. One of the coolest parts of the competition was a timed event where we had 10 seconds to locate a specific book of the Bible. We’d line up, facing a crowd of nervous parents, and the moderator would call out the get-your-Bibles-ready command: “Attention. Present swords. Begin!” And in a flurry, we’d scramble to locate, say, the book of Amos.
I rocked Bible Drill. And weirdly, I still find that archaic phrase “present swords” fluttering through my mind, like song lyrics without a melody.
There’s plenty of precedent for using Scripture as offensive weaponry, including the famous Armor of God passage in Ephesians 6. But we’ve taken that metaphor much further, turning the Bible into a box of ammunition. Individual verses have become our bullets in the culture war. Fighting homosexuality? Load up on Romans 1:27. Battling Hollywood filth? Chamber a round of Philippians 4:8.
The problem is that the Bible is so much more than a rulebook. Granted, parts of the Bible—Leviticus and much of Deuteronomy, for example—were sets of rules. But Jesus redefined that way of thinking and living. Later, Paul made it clear that an over-reliance on the “law” side of Scripture was like living under a curse (Galatians 3:10) or looking at life through a veil (2 Corinthians 3:14).
If the Bible can be reduced to a collection of ethical principles, how do we deal with the fact that Christians throughout the centuries have come to contradictory conclusions on what they are?
The Bible as Toolbox
You can’t walk through a bookstore these days—religious or otherwise—without seeing the Good Book made into a tool to enhance your life. Biblical steps to weight loss. Biblical steps to overcoming addictions. Biblical steps to business success. We crack open the Bible for parenting advice, marital tips and scary prophetic insight into oil prices and the Middle East.
That’s missing the point, too. Not that the Bible doesn’t have a lot of great information about living a fulfilled life. It’s useful, Timothy says, for teaching, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). But our tendency is to jump into a passage, yank out a principle about joy or perseverance, apply it to some out-of-context situation, then pat ourselves on the back for our dedication to the Word.
But that’s like watching a great movie so you can find an inspirational quote to tape to your fridge. Sure, it’s one way of interacting with Scripture, but there’s so much more to it than that.
The Bible as Science Book
Not long ago, I came across a statement by a creation-science lecturer who pretty much said this: If you don’t believe the world is 6,000 years old, then you don’t believe the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Therefore, you don’t believe the Bible, and your faith is in jeopardy.
Yikes. Focusing on the factual accuracy of the Bible is a wrong approach, because the core of my faith has nothing to do with whether or not the days of creation are 24-hour days. My salvation doesn’t depend on my interpretation of Genesis. It depends on whether or not I believe the Gospels, whether I believe Jesus is who He says He is. According to Paul, our faith hinges on the resurrection, not on Noah and the flood.
To get bogged down in the math and physics and biology and chronology of Scripture is to major in trivia. It misses the point.
The Bible as easy answer book
“God wrote it, I believe it, that settles it.” According to this mindset, the Bible fell from heaven one day, bound in black leather and helpfully divided into chapter and verse. With a satin bookmark.
The truth is that the Bible and its history aren’t nearly that simple. The Old and New Testaments come from a bunch of crumbling scraps in a mix of genres, written across the centuries by dozens of different scribes.
Don’t worry: I believe the Bible is God-inspired and perfect in what it communicates. But the “God wrote it, I believe it” brand of inspiration fails to account for an important kink in the process: People are idiots. While the Bible’s message may be perfect, those of us reading it are unequivocably not. It’s easy to rip verses out of their cultural and literary context so we can slap them on a bumper sticker.
The easy-answer approach makes it that much easier to misuse or abuse the Bible. A number of recent evils, from modern sexism to slavery and genocide, can be and have been backed up by carefully selected passages of Scripture. A better approach is to read the Bible with careful analysis of context, an acknowledgment of its complexity and a healthy dose of humility.
What, Then, Is the Bible?
The Bible contains powerful moral authority, but it’s not just a weapon. The Bible points to a fulfilled life, but it’s not just an advice manual. The Bible tells us where we came from, but it’s not a history or biology textbook. The Bible addresses many of life’s biggest questions, but it’s by no means an easy read. To reduce the Bible to these ways of understanding is to spotlight little truths at the expense of the big Truth.
The big Truth of the Bible is Jesus. Yes, there are layers upon layers of depth and truth and revelation to be found studying Scripture, but the main story of the Bible is Jesus. The purpose of its thousands of words is to point us to God’s final Word: Jesus Christ.
This article originally appeared in RELEVANT magazine.
Okay, so I have to apologize for totally going off grid for the past while. Not sure what’s gotten to me. This spring has just been incredibly busy. For those like me in camp ministry, spring is our busy time, preparing for summer. So that is my excuse.
Today I was reminded of over two years ago what inspired me to create the graphic design side of my online little world, and of course I am referring to Poetic Industries. That inspiration came from Watoto Children’s Choir, as once again I was able to see them, this time as they came to our church in Saskatoon. It once again reminded me that we have been so blessed living in North America, and that we are called to return that blessing to others around us. I needed that reminder, and I need to continue to do whatever I can, and to teach others around me that same lesson. We are called to serve others. Libby, our oldest daughter, is excited to help in whatever way she can to give to our newest Watoto Child. A girl that is roughly the same age as Libby. I hope that I can be an example of what it means to serve others, and that this can be one more way I can teach my children to live selflessly. I also realized that Poetic Industries began with sponsoring a Watoto Child and that since then I could do more. And I thank all of you who have supported Poetic Industries by buying a t-shirt or getting me to design a website for you. In turn you have helped children in Africa. This has once again sparked me to want to print more t-shirts or skateboards, so if you are interested let me know.
Anyways, I just wanted to let you all know that I haven’t completely forgotten about this site. I still enjoy it and really need to put some time and energy back into the site and what I want for it now and in the future. As I think about that I’d like to hear from you, what would you like to see here? More writings, more videos, or just more stuff about my family and daughters? Let me know in the comments.
I’ve been reading the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan and below is my observation from the section I’ve read today. I thought this was a great place to start dialogue or writing back on here.
Jeremiah 1:4-5, “The Word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.'”
God knew me before He made me. Again, God knew you and me before we existed.
God has been with me from the very start. Before I knew Him, before anything. It also says that God then knew what I would do before I was born too! You might just think this is written to Jeremiah, but Eph 2:10 tells us that we are created to do good works. God setup and prepared good things for us to do long before we existed. Sure I’ve heard all this before, but stop and think about how crazy it really is; that the God of the universe knew each of us before we existed and that HE prepared God thinks for us to do. I know that I have past by some of these good things before and I’m sure you have too. For me, one of the reasons I don’t do them, is because I think I won’t do a good job or that the job really should be done by someone else. Firstly, these good things are prepared for each of us and if God tells me to do it, it means it was created for me, not someone else. Secondly, we don’t need to be scared of failing. This is the same problem Jeremiah had and God told him, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you.” It goes on to say that God touches his mouth and gives him the words he needs. Remember that God prepared these good things and that He will also guide us to do them as He wants. It is HIS plan not ours. Now that is crazy.
It’s such a simple truth, yet I know I fail at it.
The toughest question that has come from this section of the book so far….
The greatest good on this earth is God. God’s one goal for us is Himself. The best things in life are gifts from the One who loves us (God), but we need to ask ourselves if we are in love with God or just His stuff? Do I love the things He provides me with, the feeling He gives me when I succeed at a good work He gave me or do I earnestly love God Himself? I’ll be wrestling with that for the next while. What about you?
So I glanced at the calendar and realized that it’s March…. What? How did we get here so fast? It seems like winter is fading away and I hardly remember it. Maybe it was all the craziness of Norah’s journey that made everything seem to pass by so fast. Either way I am now looking at the calendar and the huge amounts of things on it as Spring brings many things for us. House renovations getting done; which will bring a slew of jobs for me soon; to spring LIT retreat, youth group visits, lots of R/C Truck Events, planning programming, beginning to start thinking about video for this summer, and the list goes on and on. And this doesn’t even include all the things on the calendar for our family. Luckily one of those is a family vacation in Edmonton for Easter. I am really hoping this will help put my head on straight before Spring really hits and I start heading out to camp for rentals, staff training, etc, etc.
As always, the think to take a backseat is this site. Many are probably checking back here for updates on Norah. But she is doing so well that I forget to tell everyone that. She’s great. Growing, getting chubbier everyday. So makes us all smile each day. I wish you could all come cuddle her and see for yourself just how much she has changed. Pictures are cute (I guess I should post more too) but they don’t really show how much she has changed in the past month. She has healed so well that we are starting to pick her up under her arms now. So glad for that. Makes it easier to cuddle with her. Before we know it she will be rolling over.
I wish I could write something profound and earth shattering here. But life really seems to be “back to normal” for the first time in a long time. And by normal I really mean busy. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.
Before you know it, it will be summer and we’ll be moved back to camp for the summer.
This might just be my next addiction. Could see this thing racing nicely on carpet. Have a place to race indoors in the winter and on road in the summer too. Best of both worlds.
I can picture onroad racing at Ranger already. A guy can dream big can’t he?
Well life hasn’t slowed down much around the Grunau household. Seems we got back from Edmonton and have been busy with Norah and Libby. Then add work ontop of that and I have really good excuses for not posting on here. However, I do apologize for not posting since we’ve been home. Shame on me I guess.
Anyways, first I will update you on Norah. This past week we have seen a big change in Norah. She is learning well how to drink from a bottle and has already begun to learn how to nurse again. While we haven’t had her weight checked we are certain she is gaining as she is looking more ‘chubby’ each day. Praise God. This transition has been alot smoother than we thought and are so happy that Norah has been off the feeding tube for over a week now. She is more alert, more cheerful and gives us alot more smiles than before the surgery. It almost feels like we have a new baby at home. We still have some appointments and check ups for her, but the Cardiologist has given us the next appointment of 6months from now!!! Libby is learning to have fun with Norah too. She is always wanting to help out, or ‘teach’ Norah something. This is just the beginning of Libby getting Norah into trouble! I keep wondering what I will catch those two doing in a year or two.
As we try to settle into a normal routine of life, we are extremely thankful for Jessica Benson having organized supper meals for us for the first couple weeks when we got home. We have enjoyed them alot and look forward to another few days. This is just one of the many many blessings that have been poured out to our family through this journey. Thank you to all of you that have donated funds, cooked meals, phone calls, and most importantly your prayers. We are so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful and caring people.
Words cannot fully express our thanks. We hope that one day we will be able to have the opportunity to bless someone else going through the same things our family has gone through.
So this marks the beginning of the end of this chapter. Until next time.
Today was the day that we finally moved out of the PICU. It was very refreshing to get away from the PICU as it can be a very stressful place to be. Although we did enjoy our nurses there.
We have moved into the Cardic Care Unit and share a room with another little girl. Norah is doing really well. Our biggest struggle and prayer request is that Norah would learn to feed. We have gone back to feeding through the NG tube as we did before surgery. Thankfully we are comfortable with this and will be able to go home continuing this routine. Norah has lost the suck and swallow ability as we told that this “skill” can be lost rather quickly. Thankfully she still loves her soother, so we will have to meet with a speech path who can help to reteach Norah to swallow. Please pray that she can be a fast learner. While this won’t be a hurdle to us coming home, we would like to learn as much as possible before we leave.
The only difference to being off the PICU; besides not having 1-1 care anymore; is that there is a bed for Dawn to room in with Norah during the night. However, this also means that Daryl has to go back alone to the Ronald McDonald House alone. While not a huge deal, it is difficult to leave. Hopefully our little family can be ALL back together soon.
We got a chance to talk to Libby this morning. She is loving it over at Grandma and Grandpa Klauses. However, we are all missing each other, especially Mom.
Thank you for your prayers. Until next time.
Well after a day of (really) no change, we were excited to see a lot of things move forward today. As I said before Norah got one of her chest tubes removed before lunch. Then in the afternoon she got her breathing tube, her temperature line, and her catheter out. She also is completely off the morphine and other medicines as well. She now is only on Tylenol and still has one more medication to go. It is a medicine that helps to constrict her heart and get the gunk out of her lungs as well. They are weaning her off that tonight and hope to have her off of it tomorrow morning.
Because she became unhooked from a lot of wires/tubes, Daryl and I were able to hold her for the first time!!! It was so wonderful… I can’t even describe what it felt like. It was surreal! It was also wonderful to hear her little cry (even though it still sounds quiet and raspy). By the end of me holding her my arm was completely asleep and tingly, but I totally didn’t care!
We are hoping, and the Dr’s think, that Norah will be able to move up to the cardio ward tomorrow!! YAY! This means that we’ll have more room to be with her and I’ll be able to room in with her as well!
We feel so incredibly blessed by you all! It has been wonderful to receive all your little notes of encouragement. Thank you for thinking of our family.
Last night we met another family that needs your prayer:
Rebecca and Grant have a little girl named Oxsanah (Ox-anna). She is only 2 weeks older than Norah (so she is 4 months old). When Rebecca was about 20 weeks pregnant they discovered that there was something wrong with their babies heart. Oxsanah’s heart only has 3 out of 4 chambers and one of her valves was basically useless. The Dr’s all encouraged Rebecca and Grant to terminate the pregnancy but they refused. So they were told that they would be given compassionate care after Oxsanah was born, which basically meant that after her birth, her parents could hold her while she died. But, by the power of God, Oxsanah is still alive! She has a shunt in her valve and she is doing okay breathing on her own (she just got her tube removed today again…. for the second time in three days). The Dr’s think her only chance for survival is a heart transplant. I can’t imagine what they are going through. Rebecca said it has been a huge comfort to know people are praying for them. When they feel down, they call out to those praying and feel restored and strengthened. This is a beautiful family that really do need prayer! Please pray that Oxsanah can be healed and lead a long healthy life! She is a beautiful little girl and these parents have fought so hard for her. Please remember this family in your prayers!
Thank you all,
Today has been a very very long day. One that I hope we will never have to go thru again….
It started very early at 5am as we had to give Norah her last of 3 sterile baths to prepare her for surgery. Then it was off to the hospital to be there for admitting at 7am, with surgery scheduled for 8:20am. We were very prompt and actually got to the hospital early. When we got to the pre-admissions clinic we again got news that it would be delayed till 11am. So we began the first round of waiting. However, this waiting was with Norah sleeping, smiling and being her happy self. Plus Dawn got in some cuddles before surgery, which she wasn’t going to turn down for a second.
Finally the time came and we got escorted to the room just outside the OR. And we waiting again. This time it was very short. A wonderful O.R. nurse took a picture of the three of us (seen to the left, its early in the day and we look tired already) before we had to do the hard job of handing Norah into the nurses arms. Tears fell, but we knew that she was in God’s hands and that we where completely helpless to the situation. All we had was the comfort of our wonderful Saviour. But. This. was. hard.
Psalm 139:13, reminded us that God was in control and that He is a good God.
So the longest day truly began after this. Waiting.
We killed some time by getting some food. We were both starving, having been up since 5am and it was now 11am and felt like 1pm. So we went to get something to eat. Then out of nowhere Dawn had an allergic reaction to cashews. It came literally out of nowhere as she was eating an Italian Pannini. Who thought pesto sauce has cashews in it? Really? Thankful with some Benadryl and a little time she quickly began to feel better. Albeit still hungry having “lost” the food she ate for lunch, but having lost her appetite. I’m sure later tonight she will make up for it.
After lunch time seemed to go quickly all of a sudden, but then at around 4hrs time it just stopped. We waited, and we waited. Then after almost 5+ hours of waiting the surgeon walked in. Finally.
The surgeon was very happy with how things went. The hole in her heart (actually a VSD and a small ASD as well) was very large and was patched up, then he was able to look at the Pulmonary Valve and see that it is indeed very abnormal. They did a repair of the valve as well which added to the length of the surgery. He told us that they will have to monitor this valve over the course of her life and that there is a 10-20% chance that she will have to have surgery to repair it again as this repair could cause ‘leakage’ overtime. Not the news we wanted to hear, but he did say that she would led a normal life and be healthy and active. It could be decades later that she might need surgery again. So overall good news.
When the surgery was over, Norah’s heart is very strong and she came off the heart-lung bypass machine very well. The surgeon was very happy with this. We got to meet more of the nurses taking great care of Norah in the PICU and are getting to know them as in PICU there is a 1-1 ratio so the nurse is always at her side with us. Right now she is on a ventilator to help her breath and everything is looking good and they hope to take her off that tomorrow morning if all goes well over night.
Thank you for all your prayers. We really felt them today. This is the end of a very long day and we will rest peacefully.
Well it’s day 3 of our family’s adventure and it felt very strange (and wonderful!) to get a little break from the hospital today! We were able to sleep in a little, relax in the morning and do a little shopping (got some great deals on some clothes for Libby for next year!). Today also gave us a little bit of a chance to look around the Ronald McDonald house a little. I guess I never thought about it before, but it has been such a blessing to have a wonderful place, with all the things we need, and we don’t have to worry about the price! A hotel like this (without all the amenities) would be at least $100 (conservative) a night and when your looking at two weeks, that would be a lot of money!!!
Staying around here today also gave us the chance to see a lot of other families. I can’t explain how I feel, knowing that all these families have a little child that is sick. You see families that are trying to have some form of normality in a very abnormal situation. And you also can’t take anything for granted… there are many families that are just trying to make the best out of a very sad situation. There is a little girl here, named Hannah, who seems to know everyone! She is very friendly and chatty, and is a very typical 2 year old, including the tantrums 😀 BUT, it breaks my heart to know that the reason she is fairly grumpy (although she rewards us with a smile now and then), is because she got one (of many) chemo shots today and it makes her nauseous, tired and sore. She is such a beautiful little girl and such a joy to everyone here! Please pray for Hannah and her family that she will be able to battle the cancer in her body! We are continually reminded that it can always be worse and God is with us every step of the way. We are not without hope, because we know the Healer, the Maker and the All Powerful!!
We were told today that Norah’s surgery is tomorrow at 8:20am (which is 9:20am Sask time). We will be at the hospital at 7 in the morning, and then we won’t see her for about 5-6 hours. The surgery itself is only about 2-3 hours, but in the beginning they need to take her to put her to sleep and then after the surgery the nurses will set her all up in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). After that, we can go in and see her…. please cover that moment in prayer for us! I can’t even imagine all the emotions that we’ll go through at that time!!
So tonight we are in pre surgery mode. Norah has already had one bath with some special soap, and then we’ll give her another one right before bed, and then it’s bath #3 before we leave for the hospital tomorrow. She is going to be one squeaky clean (and sterile) little girl before that surgery!
That the surgery would go well, that Norah would be safe and that they WOULDN’T have to open up her pulmonary artery. (If they have to open that up, there is a much bigger chance of complications afterward).
For Daryl and I as we wait during the surgery, and when we see Norah for the first time after.
That Norah would heal quickly, would stay infection free and that she would recover properly.
-For little Hannah, that her body would be restored and the cancer would be taken away.
Thank you all for all your prayers! We are so thankful for how you’ve all encouraged us and cared so much for our family! I’m not sure how much of a post I’ll do tomorrow, but we will try our best to update everyone.