The Healing Bible – I’m Torn

Posted on February 27, 2009


Church World Direct sent this out today.



I’m torn.

There is great healing and hope found in the Scriptures, no doubt. There is a powerful mystical presence that holy writ has had on humanity, and continues to have on its conscious. And one ought not need to become a Biblical scholar to be blessed by the words on the page, the messages, the stories, and the verses of the Bible. There is some practical wisdom, proverbial precepts, and encouraging exhortations that somehow make a difference in the lives of those who read it.

However, this is yet another example of propogandizing and commodifying a book that was never intended to be decontextualized. The dangers of reducing the collection of letters, narratives, poems, rhetoric, parables, etc., to bite-sized self-help “take-aways” does damage to our sensibilities and perspectives of a God who has lived and moved throughought the breadth of life, culture, and history. These kinds of efforts only serve to embolden people’s individualism and narcissism.

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, the Bible is actually filled with stories of God’s Spoken Word, not in tomes of literature, but in brief moments of interaction and clarity. God, Jesus, and Paul often spoke simple, dare I say “bite-sized” encouragements and exhortations to people in their moments of need. And those statements moved people, nations, and civilizations. They were undoubtedly remembered and written down for their very poignancy, simplicity, and brilliancy. So, what’s the harm in reduplicating those realities?

STILL, this kind of product often serves to idolize the Scriptures, turning us toward “bibliolatry,” forsaking the metanarrative of the Creation, and thus our place and purpose in it. How can we settle for “piece-mealing” the most (arguably) influential book in the world? Why would we compromise that which is so great for that which is so immediate and pithy? Why do we continually do this to the Bible, and therefore compromise the richness that we as a humanity could become through the whole of the Scriptures? And why would we not want to ravage the whole story? Is it for lack of will? Perhaps it is ignorance? If so, ought we not fight against those two evils? Or have we simply lost the faith to see the greatness of the collection, the community, … the context?

I’m not yet sure what I’m going to do with this? Recommend it or revile it?

I’d love to hear what you think.