I actually believe that the biblical text is a living and breathing Word. The first time I seriously attended a church, our pastor preached through the Book of Leviticus for an entire year, verse by verse.
Yes, that’s right.
Menstrual blood, goat sacrifice, and no shell fish, please.
Now if you at this moment are smiling or laughing or thinking that is crazy, what have you just said about the biblical text? Do you have a canon within a canon? Either you believe that God speaks through his entire text, or you stick with the evangelically approved texts that are tamed down enough for the local congregation.
We have no desire to tame the text. We want to let it out of its cage and we want to see it prowl around our lives, devouring us and spitting out the bones. We don’t want to be detached, methodical scientists who stand over the subject and apply the proper rules, methods, and procedures so that we can achieve favorable results. The modern impulse is always to reduce it to simple principles and clever maxims. To continually insist that with enough work, it will all make sense and line up.
Life doesn’t always line up.
We love the Scriptures and we want them to sweep us off our feet.
The Bible is not a nice book. It is not a clean book. It is not a guide to proper behavior. It does not even seem to care whether it is “relevant” or not.
The Bible is a revolutionary manifesto that could get you killed in many parts of the world. It is living, it is breathing, and it demands that we surrender to it unconditionally so it can transform us.
We believe that the goal of the church is to celebrate mystery, not conquer it. One of the greatest diseases to have infected the church in the modern era is the desire to reduce.
The spirit of God is messy. And that is not heresy. The Spirit moves in wild and unrestrained ways and demands that we run as far as we can to keep up.
The most dangerous place to be in the universe is the center of God’s will.
That is where we want to be.
I hope we never think we’ve nailed it.
I hope we never believe that we have arrived.
I hope it is always dangerous.
Always flying by the seat of our pants.
I hope the struggles keep us begging for God’s guidance.
I often hear Christians tell what God has been saying to them in their times of meditation and study and prayer and I’m often amazed. He tells them the most profound, eloquent things.
All I seem to ever hear is: “Rob, get out of my way.”
**Sections of the above writing were paraphrased from the excellent book The Younger Evangelicals by Bruce Webber.