truth

Some Thoughts on Bible Study

It took YEARS for me to unravel bad doctrine from my brain, and learn to read the Bible objectively, without thinking about what a church leader told me I should believe about something. Once I was able to do this, it felt like I read the Bible in a different way- like a fog had been lifted from my mind. I definitely can think a lot clearer when reading the Bible than I did many years ago.

Recently, I read a book written by a Christian author in which I started reading thinking that I would really love it. However, as I got into it, I started getting little, yellow flags. So, instead of continuing reading, I stopped where I was at and searched up EVERY Scripture on the subject that I could find. I spent nearly two whole days studying this ONE particular subject and working through the book, so that I could figure out what I believed in, before continuing on. (And not to brag, but to make a point: I read REALLY, REALLY quickly, AND comprehensively. In revealing this about myself, I am trying to say that two whole days of studying for me is a LOT of reading. My family can vouch for this.)

Back on point: Sadly, as this book went on, the doctrine became increasingly off in its “doctrine”. By the end there was a giant, red flag waving, (or a couple of them). Also misfortunate was the slight twisting of the Word to fit the man’s “new ideas”, which in fact are very similar to gnosticism. And the most scary part about it isn’t even that people read it and are convinced to grab ahold of that false doctrine, but more so that people defend the book without having read it.

Eric and I don’t quite know what to do now that we are “church-less” again. We believe in being strong in the Word, but also in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. (And I know that some of my friends here don’t even go to church or believe in God, so I’m sorry if this post annoys you. This is just where we are at.) We are trying to not step on too many toes in the midst of this too, while also feeling grieved that the body of Christ isn’t as mature and strong as it thinks it is.

This truth is often passed by because most Christians say, “Well, not MY church.” In reality, I’ve found that to be the opposite in most cases. I really don’t think that some people read the Bible to find Truth. I think that some read to find their idea of truth or to make themselves feel good or because they feel guilted into reading it, because that is what they are “supposed” to do. I think that some churches who do operate in the gifts of the Spirit do so in order to make themselves look spiritual or to give them a spiritual high. I’m not saying this critically, but out of concern for the trajectory that the modern-day church is on. This is an observation I’ve made that I feel has some relevance to TRUE change and for the Harvest.

I always say I’m not going to even bother making posts like these anymore, because it feels about as productive as digging a hole with a spoon. However, something deep inside me won’t let me quit making stands. If it offends you, I don’t think I should apologize to you. Oftentimes truth is uncomfortable.

Human Like That

Many times my opinion has alienated me from fellow believers. It used to be that I would blast people with my opinion and it obviously had poor results. However, I’ve found that people in general are uncomfortable with being disagreed with.

Here is how God made me:

– no-nonsense
– honest
– strong sense of justice
– desiring truth
– a propensity towards getting into the nitty-gritty of the faith
– big heart for God and people

Here is how God has changed me:

– moved me from a romanticized idealism to a realistic viewpoint of humanity
– bringing me to the realization that the lost won’t miraculously be reached by attending church
– showing me that mercy is a good balance to truth. (Mercy and truth have kissed.)
– not every battle is one that should be fought
– manymanymorethingstoomanytocount

Through the things I’ve been through, and my honesty about them in my songs, hurting believers and non-believers have been touched by my story, or in Christian terms, my “testimony”. And I didn’t have to wrap it up in a pretty, perfect package with verbiage that makes people comfortable.

My gift doesn’t come wrapped up. It is what it is. There is no pretension. There is no guessing. It’s more like a holding it behind my back until the right time and giving it to someone, as I got it. There aren’t pretty ribbons, but it isn’t a “chocolate pie” either. 😉 I used to feel a lot of shame concerning this. Not guilt. SHAME. I allowed people’s judgmental attitudes to make me feel bad for doing and saying what God told me to. It caused a lot of vacillating for me.

Recently I watched a documentary on Johnny Cash. When I think of Johnny, I think of the man at the end of his life, who through honesty spoke/sang what he felt was the truth, whose American recordings have touched MILLIONS of people. He’s gotten a lot of flack through the years from judgmental Christians who thought he did “devil music” and thought it was a shame that he didn’t do “just Gospel”.

I wonder how many people those judgmental Christians touched with their ridiculous standards and lack of grace. Even with all of Johnny Cash’s mistakes, he reached millions. He told millions of people about God. And I can guarantee that his mistakes and humanity made his listeners more open to the Gospel of Christ.

Why? Because he wasn’t afraid to bare his heart and say, “I’m just a man with a story to tell,” and it happened to include God. I’m not the crying type and I wept watching interviews of Cash’s last few years. What a legacy, even if flawed.

I’m tired of romanticized ideals- ones that I used to also have. I don’t want to be a GD princess or one of “God’s royalty”. I want to be His servant. I want my humanity: my blindness, my mistakes, my idiocy, my weaknesses, my SIN to be “out there”. To me God doesn’t accept me because I’m perfect or “made perfect”, He accepts me as I am, DESPITE these human flaws.

It is what it is. I am what I am. Some people appreciate that. Some don’t, because it challenges their lofty ideals. I won’t change this about myself. EVER AGAIN. I won’t put a pretty bow on something, but I also try not to throw truth at people too often or too hard. I’m not always successful.

I’m human like that.