I have a two guilty pleasures that really confuse Lauren.  The first is TBN.  For some reason I’m drawn to the big hair and the clapping and singing and the verses used out of context.  I have a hard time explaining it to people, but I think I have been able to view it as entertainment and not as some form of spiritual teaching.  The other guilty pleasure is closely related but a bit more tame, if you ask me.  I enjoy listening to Christian talk radio.  In part it reminds me of my childhood, as I hear the voice of Chuck Swindoll and Dr. James Dobson.  It also has given me the opportunities to critically evaluate what I believe and how my beliefs have changed over the years.

As I was driving home from work I was listening to a call-in show on the Christian talk station.  A lady call in and ask a question along these lines, “Could you tell me any Bible verses that support putting a pet to sleep when it’s in pain.”  Oh how I wish I could have been the DJ.  I would have quoted Hezakiah 13:8  “If thouest come upon an animal in pain, do unto it what must be done to relieve it, thus saith the Lord.”  Then I would talk about the interpretations for the word ‘relieve’ in Hebrew.  It would have been fun.

On a serious note, as soon as she asked her question I felt like I understood the motive behind her question.  To me it sounded like she knew the answer that she wanted to hear and now she was looking for the authority of the Bible to back her decision up.  This view of the Bible is merely an Answer Book from God.  This view of the Bible is far too common.  I’m waiting for Zondervan to come out with a Bible that has the Index as the Table of Contents.  “Need a verse that talks about adultery?  Here’s the pages….”  Forget about all the other verses that make up the context.  This way of thinking doesn’t need the Bible, it needs an encyclopedia.  Simply study the parts that you’re interested in and leave all those other boring or convicting parts alone.

I know this approach to the Bible; I used it for a long time.  And what’s worse is that I have used it while preparing sermons.  For this I’ve repented.  I remember being certain of what I was going to preach and then going to the Bible to find support of what I wanted to say.  How arrogant!  But it is so easy to do, and it make you sound so certain of things.  The problem, as I’ve come to see it, is that it is not that certain.  I hope that as time has passed I have allowed myself to read the Bible to understand what the Bible is saying, and not to support what I think is valid.

OK that’s it.  I realize that it might come off as an incomplete thought but I felt like I needed to get it off of my chest.  I also thought, “hey, maybe someone else will have some thoughts on this subject.”  So, do you?