Can you keep a secret? There came a point, a couple years ago, when I came to hate reading the Bible. So, for all intents and purposes, I stopped.
We were doing a Disciple Bible Study at our local United Methodist Church, and the further we got into it, the angrier I got at the Scriptures. Not because they were “boring” or “legalistic” either. I’d long ago worked through those issues.
No, what ate at me was the hypocrisy and the lack of grace that kept showing up. It showed up in the people within the stories. Even worse, it showed up in the pictures of God these stories painted. And it made me upset that it made me angry, because I used to love to read the Bible.
Granted, I have changed a lot over the years. Theologically. Philosophically. Politically. But I like to think that, deep down, I’m still the same person who fell in love with Jesus at summer camp.
But why couldn’t I find that Jesus in the pages of this Book?
Why was he hiding from me?
So I stopped reading. I still prayed, and still I sang songs. We still went to church, and I listened attentively to sermons. And I’d still read a cherry picked verse or two that illustrated the point the preacher was trying to make. And I will admit that I occasionally heard whispers of that grace, of that at-hand-Kingdom-that-was-for-everyone.
It just wasn’t all that clear where these preachers and songwriters were getting their information from.
Fast forward to last week, when I stumbled across a blog THAT YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY READ. Laura Jean Truman managed to do for me what 10000 songs and 1000 sermons couldn’t; she made me want to read the Bible again.
But here’s the thing: I’m not sure if it was anything she actually said in her blog, at least not directly.
It’s funny what can happen when we come across someone obviously head-over-heels in love. And I’m not talking about a puppy love, blind-to-all-the-flaws love. That kind of love just makes you roll your eyes, or maybe sigh and shake your head with an “oh, bless your heart,” and you hope they wake up to the truth before this relationship gets too far along.
No, I’m talking about when you encounter a mature, eyes-wide-open love that sees the other person for exactly who and what they are, warts and all, and is still crazy about them, sometimes in spite of their quirks and sometimes maybe even because of them.
It reminds you what that was like when you felt that way.
And it makes you want to get it back.
So I’m reading through the book of Mark (which, btw, so is she, and again, you should totally read her posts about it). I’m not in a hurry. I don’t have any arbitrary “two chapters a day” goals. I’ll get through when I get through. And then I’ll read something else. Or a I won’t. I might even blog about it.
All I can tell you is, right now, I’m enjoying reading the Bible again, and not because Jesus is soft-focused-beautiful and on-message-eloquent, but precisely because he isn’t.
It’s been a long time coming.