Spiritual Dryness: Reflecting on Not Wanting to Read the Bible

I don’t love reading the Bible. There: I said it. In fact, I’ll go further: I struggle to make myself read Holy Scripture, and when I do read it, it usually leaves me cold. Far from being a sweet experience of encountering God, reading the Word often makes me a bit depressed, because I think “Is this it? I’m not feeling profoundly impacted by the Word... I guess I must be defective.”

Let me be clear about doctrine. I believe that the Bible is the written Word of God, inerrant, inspired by the Holy Spirit. I know how important it is for Christian formation. I know that in these pages, it’s possible to have a life-changing encounter with God through the Holy Spirit.

I just have a really hard time reading it.

Part of the problem may be the weight of impossible expectations.

Wiki-Scripture: Five Verses That Need Better Editorial Control

Wikipedia—and it army of public scholars—is a nifty tool for those moments when you just need some quick clarification of your now-faded high school education. Who again was that Pascal dude? How do you spell DNA’s full name? How many Brady Bunch kids took drugs? But as many of us know, Wikipedia is not the best source for precise truth. Too many engineers have been tinkering with the steel beams, if you know what I mean—which is fine if you’re just taking pictures of the stadium, but not so good if you’re planning on sitting on the top row during an earthquake.

Long before Wikipedia sprang from the public’s loins in 2001, Christians have been treating the Bible like open-source software.  My grandmother didn’t need a mouse to make her King James interpretations available, nor did the many churches I attended. At Bible studies and youth meetings, spontaneous chats and dorm-room discussions, the American public eschewed the experts and weighed in on their interpretations of scripture. Interpretation-by-public-opinion, at least for me, became the way I absorbed the truth about the Bible in my early years.

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Ernie Becker V: Live a More Fulfilling Life

Ernie Becker V has lived five lifetimes in one. Or at least that's the way it seems. Born and raised in Las Vegas as a fifth generation contractor/developer, Ernie followed in the footsteps of his family business and was very good at it. He performed all aspects of construction development, buying and selling real estate, raising money and working closely with financial institutions. Then things started to spiral out of control. As Ernie says, "I tried to find anything I could on the outside to make me feel better on the inside."

Then Ernie discovered Christ, put his addictions down and began to work forward with what Jesus had in store for him. For ten years he became both a student and a teacher of Christians life coaching principles. Three years ago he formed E5 Coaching, LLC, as a way to help people find the life purpose he has found.

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The Book of Eli Makes the Cut

Last week, I took my wife away for an afternoon date. We watched the Book of Eli. After the movie, I spent the drive home trying to gather my thoughts about the whirlwind that is Denzel Washington, as Eli, on the big screen, a man of violence who longs for peace, a man who doesn’t “want any trouble,” but who brings trouble on all sorts of violent men, a man of simple faith in a world where nothing is simple, and faith isn’t even a memory. I spent some time processing why I was moved by this film.

Without seeking to be a spoiler, I want to mention two scenes that I think might be on my all-time favorite list:

1.    There is a scene where Eli prays over a meal. In normal circumstances, this sounds completely mundane, and unworthy of screen time. But in the ultra-barren landscape of a post-apocalyptic desert, both spiritually and verdantly, this scene almost brought me to tears. There was something so completely holy about a man, a man of violence and faith, teach a young girl, entirely post-christian, completely post-faith, how to pray to God. The prayer is one of astounding simplicity and gratitude. My own mealtime prayer carried greater weight that evening.
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Transforming Little Heretics

“God is like a three-headed dragon,” offered one high school student.  “I think God is like a Transformer,” blurted out a junior higher in the front row.  I had just asked students at this summer camp to give a brief definition of the Trinity.  They reached for all sorts of analogies to explain God’s nature.  Heresy soon followed (Disclaimer:  no heretical students were burned at the stake). 

Next, I asked for biblical justification.  “What Scripture tells us that God is a trinity?  Where in the Bible do we find the word?”  Students began thumbing through their Bibles, searching for the elusive verses.  A few went straight to their concordances.  Several minutes passed.  No verses were offered.  Finally, a female underclassman ventured a guess.  “There is no Bible verse that uses the word Trinity, right?” 

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