Have We Abused the Bible?

We see and hear them every day.  Little quotes of Bible verses lifted out of  context from a complete text somewhere.  Or just little quotes that we THINK are from a Bible text somewhere but really aren’t and have nothing to do with good theology at all.  Sometimes they actually go against plain texts.   Things like, Everything happens for a reason, One door closes so another will open, God wants you happy, God wants you rich, and on and on with the bumper sticker quotes.  Verses quoted are always the kind to make one feel all warm and fuzzy inside but never will you see one that is “judgmental” or what we think of as “negative.”  We cannot allow any negative thoughts!!  Because I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!  That’s another one applied to everything from lifting weights to being able to jump off a skyscraper and fly.  Nothing negative, ever! Never!  Funny how the Bible “verses” chosen are only the happy ones.

The Bible is a collection of ancient Jewish texts, collections written by Jews for and about their heritage.  You can read more on it in many books written and articles online.  This is a simple way of saying it but it is more involved.  They need to be looked at and studied like any other ancient texts.  Think of stories or narratives then you will get the idea.  The ancients loved telling stories much like we do today!

Whether one is religious or not isn’t the point here at all.  It is about being responsible and actually thinking about what we are doing.

 

So here is a blog post I ran across this morning and I think the author nails the idea of how we have ruined the Bible.  If we did this with any other ancient texts we would be acting crazily!  So read it if you are so inclined and take what he says seriously.  As always I welcome comments and discussion!!

How We Ruined the Bible — and How We Can Save It

 

While you are at it go order Sam Tsang’s book, Right Texts, Wrong Meanings.   Learn how to look at texts the right way.  :)

 

Cheers!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Awareness

Out of Comfort Zones

Getting out of comfort zones is rarely comfortable!  Doing so, however, can be a great learning experience.  Most of my life has included a lot of biblical studies and theology and church doctrines.  For the past several weeks I have been engaged in some new studies and reading, finding it to be quite fascinating.  The areas of moral philosophy and psychology, ethics, and sociology.  I have learned some very interesting things, but the thing I like most is I am learning more about people.  Understanding how people think, why they think and act in the ways they do, and why certain values, ethics, and morals are held dear.

I have completed one online course taught by Dr Paul Bloom of Yale University.  He turned me on to some other speakers and authors which has proven invaluable.  Among those are Peter Singer, Dan Ariely, Steven Pinker, Michael Sandel, Joshua Greene, and Jonathan Haidt.  There are others but these I really like.  Currently I am taking a course taught by Peter Singer, Practical Ethics.  We are exploring areas such as euthanasia, abortion, brain death, animal equality, etc.  Another course I am going through is called A Beginner’s Guide To Irrational Behavior with Dan Ariely.  I was surprised to learn how irrational we humans actually behave, all while we think we are being rational.  Do we make our own decisions?  Really???  Or do we simply think we are making them all on our own?

The book that is really making an impact on my thinking is The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt.  Why can we not get along in areas of religion and politics?  Everyone thinks they are right, don’t they?  Of course they do.  Understanding why we all hold he views we hold goes a long way towards working together and getting along.  I have put a  video by Haidt below for viewing.  Enjoy!  I will be writing again soon with more thoughts.

 


 

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Awareness

I Am Back (I promise)

As you can see I took a hiatus!  I have been doing some reading, taking an online class on Moral Philosophy and Psychology under Dr Paul Bloom from Yale and just relaxing.  So I decided this weekend to begin writing again and updating my blog.  I will be adding and deleting some suggested books and writing some new thoughts and see what some of you think.  So come back!!  I have several who get updates via email and you more than welcome to do that on the right side of my blog.

 

See you shortly!!

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under doug jantz

Simplicity For Our Lives

What I have really been wanting to write about is the treatment of God as the Wizard of Oz on social media posts every day.  But that will be for another day because I started reading Philip Gulley’s new book last night, Living The Quaker Way.   Gulley is a Quaker but He is not trying to get people to check out the Quakers, but more is sharing  their way of living so we can experience a more peaceful and simple life.  So far I am impressed and it really hits home.  The first of those ways he shares is Simplicity.

A few years ago I decided to simplify my life.  I felt it had become too hurried, busy, and cluttered and I was not happy with it or myself.  Fast forward to now, skipping all the things in between that I had to do to get to today.  It wasn’t easy and I had to make decisions that weren’t always the easiest, including quitting a very well-paying job and moving.  Life today has become a cacophony, full of unnecessary  noise, interruptions, and busy-ness.  But most have fallen for the delusion that it IS all needed for a successful life.  Quite the opposite is true.  I now get by with less of just about everything;  money, things, appointments, and a few other things.  This means more time for myself to read, study, relax, travel, visiting with friends and parents and enjoying life more fully.  I owe on nothing which means no stress in that area.

We as a society and nation are choked by the felt need to acquire more and more stuff.  Things are bought and bought and bought which means those people have to work and work and work to pay for it all.  Then one becomes a slave to the job and those things.  A lot of it never gets used fully and more of it gets stored and not even used.  In the last week a big news item was the release of yet another iPhone.  People were camped out the day before for a place in line to get the newest and brightest NEED in life, spending yet more money.   Ads bombard us every day that we need what is on sale.  We buy the newest thing and the next day we are already wondering when the next updated product will be out.  It has become a national, crippling addiction.

Think about simplifying your life and making it more relaxing and enjoyable and have more time to help others.  Give some deep thought to what really matters.  If you win the rat race, remember that you are still just a rat.  :)

 

This is the key to true wealth: learning to not only live with less but also learning to want less”  - Philip Gulley

As always, than you for reading!!

Doug

 

2 Comments

Filed under Insights, Life, life change, Social Awareness

Allowing Others Their Freedom

I have been making my way through Hopeful Imagination by Walter Brueggemann the last few days.  In the book he discusses Jeremiah, Ezekiel and 2 Isaiah as they relate to the exile of the Israelites to Babylon.  Their task was to get the people ready for exile, help them through exile and prepare them for their return to Jerusalem at the end of their exile.  All this entailed the people letting go of what they knew and loved so they could accept the newness that would be coming to them later.  The world they were used to would be no more and they would have to accept a completely new environment and new ways of doing things.  Similar to what  we see going on all around us today even as we fight and resist it.

But the point I wanted to mention was Brueggemann’s observation that those prophets and those in any helping ministry today, whatever that may be,  have a temptation to take responsibility for others.  We want to do what others will not do for themselves.  Those prophetic voices could not do for the people what they needed to do themselves, they could only point the way and give guidance and advice.

“We have a difficult time having enough freedom to disengage ourselves, to let others be free when they are wrong, to let others be free to fail, even when they are surely headed for destruction.”

 

He states that we need to be deeply concerned for and utterly free from other people.  As humans we want to exercise control over everything, others included.  So we voice our opinions on the actions of others but expect those opinions to be taken as directives that others should indeed follow.  We want others to “act right” according to what we have determined to be right or wrong.  It is sometimes difficult to allow others the freedom we want for ourselves, such as close friends, family, or children.  We want to save them from bad decisions and heartache.  This can’t be done by us.  Some things just have to be done by others.  We must allow others their freedom to make mistakes and decisions as we do, to hit bottom if needed and to learn on their own.  It is not easy!  Things cannot be forced upon others, only guidance given.

Let others be themselves and exercise the same freedom each of us has.  Just something I have been thinking about today.  :)

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Social Awareness

Confronting The Lie: “God won’t give you more than you can handle”

The title is not my own.  I saw this blog posted on Facebook this morning and it resonates with me.  The phrase is one that hardly a week goes by that I don’t see someone write it on social media or hear someone say it.  It is WRONG.  It is one of those things that has been made up to make ourselves and others feel better.  I could elaborate more on it but I will let the author do that, so click the link to be taken to his post.

Confronting The Lie

Doug

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, god, Life, theology

“Negative” People and the “Positive” People

I saw this  on Facebook this morning.

 

“Quote for the day: You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.”

 

The thought then occurred to me that Jesus did.  So did Gandhi and Mother Teresa and countless others like them.  They ALL hung out with negative people who couldn’t help themselves and had a huge positive impact on this world.  They all lived a full and very positive life.  How can we expect to impact the world by hanging out with only those who think and behave as we do?  It seems to me that something is wrong with this type thinking that doesn’t take into account the people who need the influence the most.  Very selfish outlook! The ones living the “negative” life NEED those of us who see things differently.  They need to see that this world can indeed be reimagined  differently than they have experienced it.

Let’s not be so prideful that we stand apart from those we deem below us in their outlook.

Leave a comment

Filed under Faith, jesus, Life, life change