Every once in a while, a bumper sticker catches me by surprise. About a year ago, the truck you see in the picture was in front of me at the gas station.
I don’t know how you feel about these bumper stickers, but they make me sad.
I feel sad for the man who was driving this truck, who apparently believes God is small, judgmental, and speaks only in Ye Olde English (ain’t that right!).
I feel sad for the people who will read these and think a relationship with God is only about what happens at (and after) death instead of embracing the opportunity to live in relationship with God right now.
More than anything, these bumper stickers make me sad because they make it seem like God is all about death when really God is about life. (John 10:10)
On the other end of the spectrum, we have this bumper sticker (which I found on Amazon.com):
The challenge for me in these contrasting viewpoints is that both claim to be based on “The Bible.”
I need to confess something here: For a long time I was not a Bible reader.
Even though I have always loved to read, I was intimidated by the Bible and by the people I thought of as “Bible readers.” You know – the people who would proudly display any of these bumper stickers on their cars. I was intimidated by the idea that I would read the Bible and find out that God was either hateful and narrow-minded or non-existent.
To be honest, I also avoided the Bible for three other reasons: rebellion, embarrassment, and fear.
Rebellion— I’m more of a “goody two shoes” than a rebel, but I didn’t like people telling me I had to read the Bible or needed to read it or even that I should read it. Their commendation gave me something to rebel against.
Embarrassment— I was embarrassed because with so many people telling me I should read the Bible, I assumed everyone else was reading it. I felt like I was too far behind to catch up. I was embarrassed I didn’t know more, but I didn’t know how or where to start.
Fear— I was afraid I wouldn’t understand the Bible. I feared the characters and places would be so foreign to me that reading about them would be a waste of time. Worst of all, I was afraid the Bible would condemn my twenty-first-century-independent-woman-ideas.
The intimidation, rebellion, embarrassment and fear nearly kept me from discovering the beauty of the Bible. You can click here to read about what changed my attitude, but I wonder – am I the only one?
Surely I am not the only one who has struggled with this. I can’t be the only person who has had a long season where Bible reading seemed boring and pointless, even when God felt present and alive. Right?
Tell me. Have you had a season like this? Was it some combination of intimidation, rebellion, embarrassment and fear that kept you out of the Bible? Are you still in that season? If not, what changed? I’d love to hear your story. Send me an e-mail or find me on Twitter or Facebook.
Are you ready to start, or restart, Bible study? I’ve designed a 5-day Challenge to take the boring out of your Bible study. You can read more about it here or sign up by clicking this button:Challenge Accepted!