Thursday, March 16, 2006

I'm Too Busy for God

That seems to be the message that I have been hearing lately. Specifically, it has come through loud and clear in two articles I have read recently. This one, from Christianity Today, talks about the abundance of new Bibles that are coming out that "hope to make God's word digestible for the masses not in years, but in weeks, days, and—yes—even minutes." First, there's The Bible in 90 Days, a Bible and a curriculum that allows the reader to get through the Bible in - you guessed it - 90 days. But maybe that's too much of a time commitment for you. If so, there's the HCSB Light Speed Bible which combines the Bible and speed reading to get you through the Bible four times in one day. Four times! And finally, there is the 100-Minute Bible which condenses the Bible to 20,000 words in about 60 pages. I think it reads something like this:

"First, there was God. Then there was Adam and Eve, they sinned, then there was Abraham, who was the father of Israel, who became enslaved to Egypt but Moses led them out and they wandered for a while. They liked God, then they didn't, then they did, then they didn't, did, then didn't, and so on. Then came Jesus. He healed and preached and loved. Then He died, but He rose again. Then the Church was started and Paul wrote a bunch of letters. Then there was some crazy stuff that happens at the end featuring horses and trumpets and bowls. The End."

What does it say about us that we need Bibles that we don't have to spend a lot of time with? We're too busy to really spend time in the Word, right? I mean, we have work, and family, and extracurricular stuff, and church stuff. We need something to get us a quick fix in the Word, but it can't take much time. Is that really the best approach to the Word of God?

And then I ran across this article and pictures of a drive-thru church in Daytona Beach. People drive up just like you used to do at a drive-in movie theater. You watch the service from your car, someone delivers the Communion elements to you there, and then you drive away. Again, what kind of message is this sending. That we're too busy to even get out of our cars? That church is really just a show, so why bother participating? That we don't need the community that church is supposed to be about, and instead, I'm in a hurry to get to my real community on the golf course? Now that's the kind of church I want!

Now, before you think I'm getting all high and mighty on you, keep in mind that I admit that I am just as bad as the next guy or girl in this area. I like to think that I am soooo busy in my life that I don't have the time to really sit down and quiet myself and take time alone with God, whether it be through prayer or time in the Word or worship or whatever. I busy myself with some important things, but also with a lot of inconsequential things. Spending time with my family: important. Watching American Idol: inconsequential. Being with my youth group students: important. Goofing around on the internet: inconsequential. May God help me to be more like Martin Luther who is widely quoted as saying, "I have so much to do today that I should spend the first three hours in prayer."


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and insightful blog, Mike.
You may or may not know this, but all members of the U.S. Congress have "Bibles" at their official in Congress desks or whatever they are called. Gideon kind of Bibles, but different. They were edited by Thomas Jefferson and have been a tradition since Jefferson's time. This Jefferson edition of the Bible has done away with all of the Old Testament and everything in the New Testament except the words, teachings and parables of our Lord Jesus.
Think about it. No Leviticus. No Paul. No Epistles. Just the words and teachings of our Master. Hmmmm.

Fitz said...

I have heard about Jefferson's version of the Bible. I would be interested to read it, but I certainly don't agree with the concept. While it's true that Jesus is our master, the rest of the Bible is also quite valuable. The entire Old Testament points forward to Jesus, and the New Testament points back to him. If you delete everything except His words and teachings, you are missing so much of the richness of what He said and did. For example, the Lord's Supper wouldn't have nearly the depth of meaning and beauty if we ignore the tradition of the Passover supper and the practice of sacrificing and eating a lamb, and the fact that it points back to God rescuing Israel from Egypt, when they painted the blood of the lamb on their doorposts. Without all of that, it was just a nice supper with some bread and wine. There is too much richness in the Word of God to pick and choose what you want to read and what you want to delete.

Anonymous said...

You are so right, Mike. The Bible is far too rich with insight and truth to be edited.

But, for the record, there is no historical or archaeological record, in fact, of "Israel" ever being enslaved by Egypt. It is a Biblical metaphor. Never happened.
Live with it and grow in your love of Christ.

Fitz said...

You are so predictable! I knew as soon as I typed my last comment that you would respond as you did. I can always count on you to either rip on the Browns and talk about how they are cursed, or talk about how the Bible is fiction. What happpened, did you hear someone say one day, "There is no evidence for the Exodus," and simply believe it? A couple of websites featuring two important pieces of archeological evidence for the Exodus are these:

And looking at it logically, why would Israel celebrate Passover for thousands of years to commemorate what God did in rescuing them from Egypt? "Hey guys, let's make up a feast to celebrate something that never happened and make everyone participate for thousands of years until they believe it actually happened!" Give me a break! Someone - or rather, a large group of someones - experienced what God did, and they started a feast to remember it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike! You missed the point entirely. It went right over your
head big time. The Bible is NOT
fiction. It is the word of God. But there is no historical or archaeological evidence of Israel ever being enslaved by Egypt. None. Noda. Zip. Zero. It is a Biblical metaphor that has powered and uplifted the Jewish nation and Christians for centuries.
Exodus is beautiful and "true" But it is a metaphor, my man. That doesn't make it false, not at all!
Since when are metaphors false? But to take the message literally is to demean the word of God. And if you tell me that Noah indeed put two creatures of every species onto his marvelous Ark, I'll know that you're missing out on what the word of God really is. Disneyland Christianity is not for me. I love Jesus and God and the Bible and I won't lightly accept it being abused. The Bible is too important to be brought down to a child's understanding of it.