The last couple of years, as I started to become more interested in the Bible and study it more in depth, I began to see tensions between what I thought Christianity was and what I was actually reading in my Bible. I started to realize, much to my dismay, that while I always prided myself on being objective and unbiased, reading and understanding the Bible for what it is actually saying, much of what I believed turned out to be heavily influenced by my culture, my upbringing, and my church tradition. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what the Christian story was, but it began to take on a different shape. I had read the Bible within the framework of what I knew of it from church and ended up filtering what I read through that lens, creating a vicious cycle affirming my own preconceived notions and never wrestling with the real meaning of the text. What resulted was a deluded, modern westernized version of Christianity that at times was similar to the original but in many ways actually looked quite different.
I can’t help but think of it as analogous to an old, classic movie in comparison to a modern remake of the same film. While there are many parts in the modern movie that will be recognizable to the original, including many of the same characters and scenes, there will also be major discrepancies between the two, differences in the plot, narrative arc, and the overall drama. For many of us the modern version is all that we have ever known and therefore it is this rendition that has shaped everything we think we know about the film. But this presents some questions when we bring the analogy back to the subject at hand—for it involves not scenes from a movie but rather some our deepest held beliefs about the world, the Bible, Jesus, and humanity.
The Bible was written a long time ago to a people and culture much different than our own and contains aspects that are at times uncomfortable and challenging to the modern world. Will I skim over these parts? Will I settle for a comfortable, westernized version of Christianity? Will I believe something because it’s what I have always believed or will I be someone who tests all of my assumptions by the Word of God? The Bible cannot mean what it never meant, and if it can mean anything to anyone than it must mean nothing to everyone. That is to say, as a Christian I must be committed to not relativizing the Bible but attempting to uncover the real meaning by thinking about the text through the eyes of the original author and the original recipient.
And while at times this is challenging, I have also found an unexpected, glorious truth that has in part become the catalyst for this blog—that much of the Biblical story that has been veiled to most modern readers is actually incomprehensibly more captivating, compelling, and coherent than what most Christians think it to be, a bigger, more all-encompassing, God-glorifying, desire-fulfilling story that we are being called in to.
And here I think we have come to the point of this blog. Faithful Candor. Faithful to Jesus as the world’s rightful king, faithful to the Bible as God’s word to humanity. And candor to speak truth even when it is uncomfortable, when it may be challenging, and when it may be at odds with what many people think to be true. Not to say that I am always right, no doubt I am wrong about a great many things, we are all fallible, and that is why I hope to give good reasons to think that what I write is not only faithful to what the Bible is teaching but also to be challenged when I fall short of that standard, coming to to a more faithful reading of the Bible together.
It must also be said that much of what I write could be broadly categorized as “Christian misconceptions” or “things most Christians believe that I don’t think are quite Biblical” which, by its very nature, has a sense of superiority to it. I pray that that is not how it comes across. That is certainly not the goal. Rather, I hope to come across as someone who has been captivated by what I believe to be a more Biblical formulation of what God is doing in and for the world and am passionate about sharing it—not to mention that much of what I write has an implicit acknowledgment that what I have long believed to be true is at best incomplete.
My hope is that my fellow Christian friends may be exposed to some new ideas about the Bible, enabled to engage with the text in a different way, asking afresh what it might mean for our lives today. I hope to cultivate an enthusiasm for the Biblical story that we are being invited into, and in doing so, to spur each other on as we grow in joyful allegiance to King Jesus. And my hope for my friends who would not consider themselves to be followers of Jesus is that you might be exposed to the compelling nature of the Christian worldview, one that makes good sense of the world and how it works, or at the very worst you’ll have a greater understanding of the religion you reject. And if nothing else I know that it will be beneficial for me to learn how to articulate my beliefs in a (hopefully) clear and compelling manner. Thanks for following along.
Shorter version: I’m a guy with a lot of thoughts and this blog is a place for me to put them. I hope that it might challenge and be helpful to you in some way, or at worst you’ll have a place to go for a good laugh at how wrong I am. Either way, thanks for indulging me.