I DON’T BELIEVE everything I’ve been taught about the Bible, God, or what it means to be a Christian.
I’ve been taught wrong.
I didn’t start correcting my thinking until seminary, which is when I had to study the Bible for myself. That’s when I figured out I had been taught some screwy stuff.
Even then, after my brain figured out that I had been misled by well-intentioned church folks, it took years before I felt free enough to change my behavior.
My head was free. But doggone, for years my heart hung onto those stupid, pharisaical rules that have nothing to do with a thoughtful reading of the Bible.
- Don’t drink. Tell it to Jesus in Cana, who made enough wine to get the whole town drunk. Although the Bible does warn against getting wasted: “Do not get drunk” (Ephesians 5:18). Okay, the sentence adds “on wine.” But I think it’s a fair guess that Paul, who wrote the letter, wouldn’t want his people getting drunk on Coke and rum, either.
- Don’t go to movies. Yeah, find that in the Bible.
- Don’t go to the high school prom. Hell’s bells I still can’t dance. And I may never get my boogie on. Heaven knows I’ve tried.
Our lives are filled with people telling us what to believe, what to think about whatever topic they want us to think about, and how to live.
It’s like that within the Christian community.
As in “You’d better believe that if Paul wrote it and it’s in the Bible, then it’s what God wants us to do.”
Well, what if it’s not what God wants us to do? What if God’s okay with estrogen in the pulpit, though Paul certainly had a problem with those chemicals at a podium: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet” (1 Timothy 2:12).
What if it’s just what Paul wanted Timothy to do there in the Ephesus church Timothy was pastoring?
What if Paul had known that a church committee 300 years later was going to put his letter in the Bible? Maybe Paul would have written a different letter. A letter for everyone, and not just for Timothy.
Freedom to think
I believe it’s okay to think about these things.
That’s why I write my books the way I do, with different takes on topics like these. I present as best I can the strongest arguments of the traditional understanding as well as those of Christian skeptics and investigators who want to build their faith on something more than thinking what someone else tells them to think.
The brain was God’s idea.
“Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous.”