These sarcastic words came close to rolling off my tongue, followed by, “or a shrimp cocktail?” or if I had really wanted to start meddling, “and what about that divorce in your history?” But it’s often not the time nor the place, so I typically keep my mouth shut. (I realize that’s probably hard for some of you to believe!)
These sorts of thoughts often enter my mind when I hear folks saying things about the “Word of God”, typically when picking on a “sin” that is one that they might not happen to be personally guilty of. We also hear follow ups like “We can’t pick and choose what we are gonna believe from the Word of God!” My response, which I rarely say out loud, is “We pick and choose all the time!”
Many Bible-believing Christians play the “pick and choose“ game on a regular basis, when it suits their agenda as they conveniently ignore the parts of the Bible that may be less convenient to focus on. I guess we could all be like Jefferson, who decided to create his own Bible by constructing a book with excerpts of the text that he personally believed were the most relevant. But if we did so, how many versions would we have then?
The Bible is filled with all sorts of stuff that we struggle with finding relevant today, and we always need to consider the context in which it was written and the Haustafeln (Google it if needed) of the day. During times when folks still attempted to justify slavery, or when the majority were able to keep women “ in their place”, they could find all sorts of ammunition to back it up in the Bible. It’s much easier to ignore the texts found in the New Testament and specifically the teachings of Jesus (who, by the way never even mentions many of the things that Bible bashers like to refer to).
Folks, if we want to be a faithful witness in this world that is filled with hate, division and distrust of “Christians,” we’ve gotta worry a little less about those who we want to keep out because of their uncleanliness or some other reason you want to find, and stop worrying about how to get the speck out of someone else’s eye, when we are toting around a big ole honking log in our own.
Maybe rather than thumping the parts of the Bible that keep others out, we need to spend a little time living into the Gospel. Remember the Gospel? It’s all that stuff where Jesus actually showed us how to live and be and include and treat others. How about we focus on that stuff for a while?
If you would like to print or share this edition of Claire…ification, you are are encouraged to use this pdf:
To read past editions – you are encouraged to follow this link: