maybe Christian isn’t the right word

I don’t like to read my bible. Never have.

It’s just one point in a long list of reasons I’m not a great Christian, but I’m’ trying.

If you know me you know that everything is a question to me. My wife could not be less interested in all the things I find interesting, the actions we need to consider the implications of or the obvious questions everything we do seem to raise. Everything raises an interesting question. The problem is that more often than not, they are really only interesting to me.

But this issue I have with reading the bible lead to what is an obvious question to me, can you be a Christian without the bible?

The clear answer is yes but wow does that seem strange the write.

But the idea is so foreign and strange. The bible has such a place of esteem, and rightfully so, in the churches I have been a part of the idea that you could be a Christian without a bible seems ludicrous.

How would I know how to live, or what to believe about creation, head coverings and pork without a bible?

I dunno, but the early church, who the letters we now read as the bible, were sorting it out.

But how?

Well, they were Christians not Biblicists. They followed Christ not the bible and yes those can be really different.

Strictly speaking, it is entirely possible to be a Christian without a bible. While formative and massively important, it’s not required.

And we implicitly understand this, thought we live often in a Christian culture that refuses to acknowledge this. Again we know the early church didn’t have a bible.

So let’s take a moment to look at how we interact with the bible today

Be it head coverings, eating pork, selling all we have, or simply loving our neighbour, the bible is full of commands and actions we choose not to follow. Some, like head coverings and pork we interpret as cultural or part of a covenant we are no longer held to. Some like selling all we have we interpret as contextual or an outward example of the in workings of someone’s heart. And still some we rationalize away creating systems, categories and excuses to not love people because it’s hard and messy and requires more than we’re really willing to give.

The bible is interpreted.

Is the creation story a poem, an account handed down that mixes history and mythology from a people group, or a purely factual account that can and should be scientifically proven and defended?

I dunno but those are some really diverse ways to read the same thing.

All of those question and issues are important and worth of discussion, but they don’t make us Christian. But we feel, argue, and sadly condemn people as though they do. I worry that at times we defend the bible more vehemently than we defend Christ. His way, His love and His call to discipleship.

We understand the bible is important because it points us to Jesus. We should also get that while bible is important it’s when we make it more important than Jesus that we lose our way. It’s when we transition from Christian to Biblicist that we lose our way.

It’s when we use the bible and tradition to justify a system/belief/desire rather than look at the life of Jesus and try to be more like him.

It’s when we’d rather hide behind the bible than be the people Jesus calls us to be that we should really consider if Christian is the right word for us.

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I’m up late.

I’ve always been a person who likes to stay up late. If left to my own devices I would stay up until 2am every day. I don’t because I’d also like to get up at 10am every day. That was my schedule when I went to university.  Two kids make that kind of hard.

That and my work expects me to show up.

But with Quinn I’m up late again. I’ve got time.

Time is one of those things no one ever has. At least that’s what we tell everyone. There’s some kind of a stigma I think if you’re not super busy. If you tell people you’ve got all kinds of time they start to wonder.

We are supposed to be busy.

I’m not going to get into if that’s the way of compassionate living or not. That’s for Wednesday, we’ll talk about begin busy.

Today I’m interested in how we use or time, busy or not.

I’ve now got more free time. It’s not totally free. I’m watching Quinn who may be up, may need to feed, may need to be changed, etc. But when he’s sleeping as long as I keep him with me my time is rather open.

And with it I watch a whole bunch of terrible movies and internet videos of people playing video games. I’m not even playing video games anymore, I’m watching people play video games. Some times at 1:30 in the morning I ask myself what I’m doing with my life.

I was talking with my wife about some of the programs that we run here at the community centre I manage. We have a big Muslim population in our community and she asked about what we do for those members of our community. It’s tough for us. A large portion of the community we serve is Muslim but a large portion of that community spend hours a day studying the Quran.

And I watch people play video games.

It’s not that cut and dry, or maybe it is, I’m not sure. Maybe it would be easier if there was a discrete activity that I was to engage in for a finite amount of time every day. If it was as simple as “Read your bible for 1 hour, pray for 30 minutes and sing worship songs for 30 minutes to be a good Christian” I think I could nail that.

But that’s not how it is.

We are called to live lives marked by love and grace. They will know us by our love.

And that’s why this space is here. How do we live so that instead of finding 2 or 3 hours a day to make myself a “good Christian” I live every hour as a person who is marked by and constantly exuding love? How do  love so deeply and so frequently that people want to know why and how I can live like this so I can say “because I’m a disciple of Jesus and this is how we’re called to live and it’s a deeper and fuller life than the life I had before.”

So I hope to use more of that time to become a better disciple which will help me to live a life of love that will exude out of me. My time becoming a better disciple will include praying and reading my bible as well as find ways to love and be in relationship.

And if all goes well in some of those relationships I’ll be able to make more disciples.