Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Problems I Have with the Bible

I know that it probably seems like heresy to some, but I do have some problems with the Bible. Now before you get too worked up with me, let me explain that I believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible. I believe that it is the word of God. Whenever I need to know God's will, be reminded of his way, or be refreshed by his words, I turn to the Bible. I own dozens of copies of the Bible. There are very few people I know who love the Bible more than I do.

That is why I have mixed emotions about what I am about to write. I love God and I love his word. I do not want to seem disrespectful, but there are some issues that I want to raise with the Almighty at the first opportunity. I have some questions that maybe only God can answer.
  • The Prodigal Son (Luke 15). The story of the Lost Son is pretty straightforward and familiar to everyone. But I wonder about the older brother. He gets all the reward? His father insists that all he has belongs to the older brother. On the one hand this is only fair, but on the other, the father is to serve as a picture of God. Is this the loving Father that we are to believe in and hope for? When we turn from our sins can we anticipate forgiveness but no reward?
  • The Wedding Feast (John 2). This was Jesus' first miracle- commonly referred to as turning water into wine. The servants in the story obeyed Jesus' directions to fill the jars with water. Why? No one had ever seen Jesus do a miracle, surely they did not expect one now. Why would they? Whose wedding was this? Why was Jesus so interested?
  • Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 22). God called Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac. We know how the story turns out. We know that God provides a sacrifice in place of Isaac, but what a state of discomfort we go through on the way to the end of the story. Why does God do that? It seems like some sort of sick game that God is playing.
  • Wrathful War. There are numerous instances in the Old Testament in which God orders his people to kill everyone of their enemies, including women and children. The Israelites, in fact, are punished when they do not completely kill everyone. Why would God order this? Isn't there a better way?

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Difficult Thing

I am just muddling through life. I mess up on a regular basis. If I were to keep track of my mistakes, I am sure that I would need counseling. I am not as good as people think I am and I get lost, confused and unhinged regularly.

There are some days that I do nothing right. I hurt people's feelings with my words. I offend others with my actions. There is a whole group of people who I neglect all together. Meanwhile I am in near financial ruin because of poor choices. My family is struggling because of my deficient leadership. I feel hopeless and directionless.

The bottom line: I don't know what I'm doing.

Life is a crap shoot. You give it your best shot and you hope it works. But sometimes it doesn't. My life isn't always bad, or difficult, or confusing, or pointless, but when it is it stinks. That's when I am reminded that no matter how hard I work at it, I don't get it.

So I pray. I pray because I don't know what I'm doing and God might. He might have an idea where I have gone wrong and what I can do to improve things. He might be able to help show me what I need to do, where I need to go.

Ultimately, no matter what, God cannot make my mess any worse than it already is. Even if he doesn't care and can't do anything, praying to him can't hurt.

But, I don't believe that. I think that God is interested. I believe that he is powerful, caring and involved. I think that he knows my situation and can fix me and my problems. Not only that, I believe with all my heart that God knows what he is doing. I'm going to give him my problems. He will know what to do with them.