A case can be made. Nothing is more necessary and less understood than the Bible. Experience that people are deft [when actually I think in most cases is should be deaf] in letting you—make that me—aware of what fuels them. And not to stand above cynicism, often fools them.
Ah, sorry, but on the eve of flying to Denver for fly-fishing and Bronco cheering, these fingers have a pace and venture all their own.
This morning in reading Tom Ehrich…whose crafted paragraphs and deep wisdom bring me aliveness…he came up with a phrase that best describes people who are selective of Bible verses and as a result of same, are prescriptive. They seldom hesitate to give you a should-upon list. Ehrich describes such suspects as “cherry-pickers of Bible verses.”
What often happens is people read the Bible for justification of their opinions. Even more their manner of living. They bring their beliefs to the Bible. I.E. Don’t think God approves of sexual orientation that isn’t man and woman? Leviticus here we come. Want a life that never takes sin seriously? Rush to Isaiah 22.13 Go ahead, look it up…if there’s a Bible nearby! The list can go on.
But it won’t. In reading the Bible there are those who can say, “I’ve read the entire Bible.” Some more than once or twice or thrice. Not above concern I would ask…so what? Because for most to have read it from the front of Genesis to the end of Revelation, the Bible hardly occurs as more than a history…and to think, a history that was NEVER written before midnight of the event described.
Okay. Bible is a history book. Okay, Bible can be a Driver’s Manual, especially when people want to stay above the speed limit relying upon their radar detector. But. How about this? How about the Bible being a mirror? How about reading any verse or chapter or book of the Bible and pushing yourself, “Where am I in this? Am I Adam? Am I Eve? Am I Judas? Am I Paul…before or after he was knocked off his donkey? Am I Caleb? [Look him up…there’s a reason our Cavalier’s name is Caleb: never feared the future…see? Even our dogs can be biblical…Caleb and Faith.]
Into all this I was privileged to read Joanne Carlson Brown’s editorial in the current Tibbett United Methodist Church in West Seattle’s newsletter. She asked her people if they could focus more upon the “spiritual moments” in their day. She used a phrase that is Velcro and never Teflon, “Regimes of Spirituality.”
The Bible may help, but the breathing life of each day possibly can help more. Consider every moment and find its value. For instance, I got hooked [carefully chosen verb] on the Netflix series of “Blue Bloods.” Never have I experience such value in what a family can be. And, in every one of the 88 episodes I thought of what it means to be the church. Where honesty and loyalty and competency and never giving up become a veritable way of life.
So. The Bible. So. Life. So. Friendships. So, living this day that Maya Angelo maintained is a gift—which is why we call it the present.
All this when thinking about cherry-picking Bible verses…don’t do that. Don’t do anything less than giving thanks for life. Not for what remains in terms of years and months and days. But, for today. JUST TODAY. And when we do that…we don’t have to cherry-pick. We can begin our own Regime of Spirituality.