Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name. Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.
For all its inspiration, for all the lives it has changed, the Bible is undeniably problematic. Put in the hands of egocentric, unloving, or power-hungry people or those who have never learned how to read spiritually inspired literature, it is almost always a disaster. History has demonstrated this, century after century, so this is not an unwarranted, disrespectful, or biased conclusion. The burning of heretics, the Crusades, slavery, apartheid, homophobia, and the genocide and oppression of native peoples were all justified through the selective use of Scripture quotes. Richard Rohr – cac.org
From my daily reading habit, this from Fr. Richard Rohr jumped off the page this morning. A wise old man shared with me many years ago his take on Bible-reading. If what you read does not promote in your heart tolerance, love and compassion, then you are reading with blinders. Go to your quiet place and talk with God about it.
My grandfather suffered miserably during his last years with lung cancer and COPD. I have fond memories of him sitting in his chair by the front window, Bible open on his lap, looking out to the highway 100 feet away.
“What are you looking for?” I would ask.
“The undertaker just drove by. I was wondering if he was stopping here.”
At that time in my life I was a ‘wannabe’ atheist and dismissed his reading habit as foolishness. Today, looking back, I can see that the verses and stories he cherished from the Bible were his strength in his end-of-life travail. Grandpa was a kindly, gentle man who had not a shred of egotism or hatred in his soul. Grandpa lived his life by, and drew his comfort from, the words of the ultimate Comforter.
Those words are powerful. Taken in the wrong context readers have justified vicious attacks on differing creeds, races, and lifestyles. In the hands of misguided, opportunist men of religion and politics, the love and compassion demanded by Scriptures have been translated into a doctrine of intolerance and oppression. Prominent church leaders have recently declared that Jesus and his teachings applied only to those of the Christian persuasion, that Christians do not need to honor the legacy of Jesus, the Christ, when interacting with those who are not “like us.” The government and leaders of a nation, which they declare to be a “Christian nation”, do not need to apply principles of Christianity to its dealings with other people and other nations. WP interview – Jerry Falwell, Jr.
Matthew 25:33-46…”as you have done unto the least of these, my brothers” – NLT…leaves no room for interpretations supporting one’s errant theology or political persuasion. It is perfectly clear what followers of Jesus must do to be acceptable to God. Beware of the wolves dressing in sheep’s clothing quoting scriptures to support agendas of violence and oppression. They have bastardized a verse which is absolutely explicit in its instruction.