Setting Down the Bible-Shaped Sledgehammer

photo courtesy
photo courtesy

I don’t know if I’m writing from a place of conviction, or if I’m just flogging myself unnecessarily, but it seems to be getting harder to find subjects to write about in a 5-800 word blog post lately. Maybe I’m concentrating on the book(s) more than on blogging, yet I don’t think it’s as simple as that.

When I started Spiritual Drift two…well, almost three years ago now…I had a definite idea in mind. At the time, I was still working 40+ hours a week at Barnes & Noble, and struggling to reconcile my fledgling faith with the untamed jungles of retail customer service.

…and failing badly.

I got to wondering; maybe my struggle isn’t that unusual in this big, wide world. Maybe, there is someone out there that needs a hearty, “Me, too!!”, or maybe what I need is some sane advice other than the voices inside my head who were, at the time, telling me how miserable I was and what a wretched Christian example I was being. And, out of that came this amazing blog! 🙂

It helped that, several months into my journey, I had a life-changing epiphany thanks to the catalyst of a thin, red, non-descript book called, “Crazy Love”. Then, shortly after, my blogging became more of a travel journal of rediscovery—of myself, my family, my faith, and my God.

It’s been a wild ride, and as I’ve told anyone in the last year or so who would bother to listen, I’ve probably grown more in my faith in this last two years than I have in the prior ten, most likely ever since I crossed the line of faith back in college.

But now, the feeling I have is much like one you get when coming home from the journey: The adrenaline has abated; the dust has settled; that surge of initial excitement has waned.

The “now what” has firmly settled in.

Oh, I know good and well my journey is far from over. I’m easing in to what best would be described as the “middle age” of my faith walk. I no longer feel the need to convict the “heathen” around me. I no longer feel the need to point up the ills of society. Mostly because we all know what all of our shortcomings are already, especially me, and I was never that good at wielding a Bible-shaped sledgehammer anyway.

Now, here I sit, not quite sure of what direction to take my old friend Spiritual Drift next. I hesitate to write about my own faith—what I know, what I’ve learned, what I believe—mostly because this is my journey, not anyone else’s, and I don’t say that as an egotistical statement by any means, but only that each of our spiritual journey’s is uniquely our own. I wouldn’t want someone else to follow in the footsteps of my conviction, just as I would warn against following down the spiritual path of someone actually famous: a best-selling author, a mega-church pastor, or even your own small town preacher. Yes, there are great teachings there just as there are some great teachings and discussions in the blogosphere, plenty of faith nuggets to mine, refine, and treasure, and I know many people who do. Yet there are many, many more who hang on every word that spills forth from the pulpit each Sunday, or the page with each post, and personally, I feel their journey is lacking, if not downright stunted, because of it.

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. ~ (2Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)

I also hesitate to write on hot-button topics, or subjects of inherent controversy; issues that are doing a very effective job of separating the sheep from the goats, though I would hesitate to declare on which side of that fence many of us stand—*bleat*.

There’s been many much better writers than I who have articulated their stand on these issues, and in general how I feel about my current attitude toward writing on them, and I have freely plagiarized their work below…(Feel free to pick the one you think best would describe my feelings. 🙂 There’s several to choose from.)

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. ~ (Romans 16:17-18 ESV)

“I have yet to meet anyone that has come to know Christ as the result of an intense debate. I know many who have had to wrestle with honest questions on their journey to respond to God’s grace, but these were seldom done within the debate arena. Instead, these were explored within the context of safe, vulnerable relationships.” ~ T.E. Hanna/Of Dust & Kings

“My most recent faith struggle is not one of intellect. I don’t really do that anymore. Sooner or later you just figure out there are some guys who don’t believe in God and they can prove He doesn’t exist, and there are some other guys who do believe in God and they can prove He does exist, and the argument stopped being about God a long time ago and now it’s about who is smarter, and honestly I don’t care.” ~ Donald Miller

“Every article, regardless of its position for or against, is the same. The support arguments; same. The rebuttals; same. The circular thinking; same. The responses are fully expended, (and in the end) we discover we are at the same impasse.” ~ Jen Hatmaker

“When it comes to issues with two-sides and there’s a heated investment in “who wins” — the comments section of the internet is like an asylum of nine year olds in the playground with free reign to sickles and sledgehammers.  It’s not pretty.  You have a first-row seat to the basest underbelly of the reptilian keyboard-caveman Google-expert.  I’m on the fence with a lot of these issues, mainly because 1) I don’t think they matter nearly as much as the volume of the yelling, and 2) we very quickly elevate the issues over people and we destroy bystanders with all the childish anger.” ~ J.S. Park/The Way Everlasting

“Maturing is realizing how many things don’t require your comment.
~ Rachel Wolchin

Or maybe this one…

“While we were busy arguing about inconsequential things, people were dying without a savior because we forgot to mention the gospel. God gave us the opportunity and the information to pass along…and we squandered it.” ~ All of us on judgment day.

2 thoughts on “Setting Down the Bible-Shaped Sledgehammer”

  1. Those are hammers, but not sludge hammers. I like your insights. What I see people struggling with.. is how does “this” (scripture) apply to me. I try and attend a diversity of services, because I find the wide array of interpretations interesting, some more inspiring than others.
    I hate to admit it, but the part of the service that I like the most is usually the children’s lesson. I find myself lost in sea of characters in crazy soap opera when we ministers randomly start throwing verses together. A lot of time I think ministers have giant walls of post it notes, and on Sundays they randomly pull a few off the wall.
    I guess what I’m struggling with is… does information xyz, that took place 3000 years ago, relevant to our world and times.
    The WWJD? Meets why did he do it? How is it relevant to our everyday struggles?
    I’m rambling, but keep us asking questions. Write on!

    1. I guess what I’m struggling with is… does information xyz, that took place 3000 years ago, relevant to our world and times.
      The WWJD? Meets why did he do it? How is it relevant to our everyday struggles?

      This question really stuck out to me. And I have a link to a sermon series (3 weeks worth) that address this exact question. I found the information fascinating and it directly addresses the question of how we can put the biblical scriptures into their cultural/historical context yet still make them relevant to the 21st century Western mindset. I’d give at least the first one a view…it may be just some of the answers for what you’ve rightly asked.

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