Your are here | SCJ Blogs
May 27, 2018
 
Supreme Court Jesters Blogs Minimize
 
     

21 Books You Don't Have to Read (part 2)

Apr 24 2018

As I wrote in my prior blog, Gentlemen’s Quarterly did an article about 21 books you never have to read. I wrote about the appalling crime of suggesting that Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Bram Stoker’s Dracula were books that should never have to be read. I ended by promising my readers that I would tackle the fact that the Bible also made their list of, shall we say, insignificant writing. I thought I’d start by including what their writer said about the Scripture, and responding point by point. Because of the nature of list articles, what they say is necessarily brief. My responses will be in all CAPS.

“The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it.” I’D LIKE TO BE OFFENDED BY THIS SNARK, BUT I KNOW EXACTLY THE PEOPLE HE’S ADDRESSING WITH THIS STATEMENT. THAT SAID, THIS SENTENCE IS RATHER AN OVERGENERALIZATION. SORRY, MY GQ BROTHERS, BUT I HAVE READ THE BIBLE IN ITS ENTIRITY MULTIPLE TIMES. MORE SIGNIFICANTLY, I’VE PARKED MYSELF IN SECTIONS FOR EXTENDED PERIODS. IN MY LAST BIBLE, I READ THE BOOK OF JAMES SO MUCH IT LITERALLY FELL OUT OF IT. I SPENT MONTHS READING NOTHING BUT THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, AND HAVE REVISITED IT MANY TIMES MORE OVER A TWO YEAR PERIOD. THEY ARE RIGHT, IT ABSOLUTELY IS HARD TO LIVE BY, WHICH THE BIBLE AUTHORS THEMSELVES ACKNOWLEDGE. IF GQ'S POINT IS THAT CHRISTIANS DON'T LIVE PERFECT LIVES, THAT'S KIND OF THE WHOLE POINT OF GOD'S GRACE.

“Those who have read it know there are some good parts,” AW, SHUCKS, THANKS FOR THROWING US THREE BILLION CHRISTIANS A BONE. THERE’S ACTUALLY SOME GOOD PARTS.

“ but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.” I THINK I SEE THE PROBLEM HERE. PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT USED TO RELIGIOUS WRITINGMIGHT NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THE BIBLE IS NOT NECESSARILY MEANT TO BE READ FRONT TO BACK LIKE A NOVEL. THE BIBLE INCLUDES HISTORY, POETRY, PROVERBS, LAW (RELIGIOUS, GOVERNMENTAL AND MORAL), THEOLOGY, PROPHECY AND MORE. ASSUMING IT CAN BE READ FROM FRONT TO BACK LIKE, SAY, ‘DRACULA’ COMES FROM MISUNDERSTANDING THIS FACT. IF NOT UNDERSTOOD, THE BIBLE CAN SEEM CONVOLUTED AND CONFUSING. NOTHING A TAD OF RESEARCH COULDN’T HAVE CLARIFIED BEFORE THE GQ TRENDSETTERS SET ABOUT CRITICIZING IT.

“ It is repetitive,” OKAY, I AGREE THAT FIRST AND SECOND KINGS AND FIRST AND SECOND CHRONICLES ARE VIRTUALLY THE SAME MUCH OF THE TIME. OH WELL.

“self-contradictory,” THIS IS A COMMON AND TRENDY ACCUSATION. BUT IT IS WRONG. IN MY FRESHMEN BIBLE CLASS I TEACH AT WINDHAM CHRISTIAN ACADEMY, WE OFTEN LOOK AT AN ATHEIST WEB SITE CALLED 1600 REASONS CHRISTIANITY IS NOT TRUE. MUCH OF THIS SITE IS DEDICATED TO THESE ‘CONTRADICTIONS’. MOST OF MY 15 YEAR OLD CHARGES CAN EXPLAIN AWAY THESE CONTRADICTIONS USING SIMPLE COMMON SENSE. OTHER TIMES, I NEED TO HELP THEM THINK IT THROUGH. OCCAISIONALLY THERE ARE MORE CHALLENGING ‘CONTRADICTIONS’ THAT CAN STILL BE RESOLVED WITH A SIMPLE BIBLE COMMENTARY THAT SPEAKS TO CULTURE, LANGUAGE, AND OTHER FACTORS THAT CAN MAKE ANCIENT LITERATURE CONFUSING. BUT THERE'S ALWAYS AN EXPLANATION. FOR EXAMPLE, ONE CLASSIC ‘CONTRADICTION’ IS WHEN THE BIBLE SAYS A STONE FROM DAVID’S SLING KILLED GOLIATH, THEN IN JUST A FEW VERSES, THAT IT WAS DECAPITATION THAT KILLED HIM. I LIKEN THIS TO MY WIFE’S UNCLE WHO RECENTLY HAD A SERIOUS FALL, BROKE HIS NECK AND ENDED UP ON LIFE SUPPORT. AFTER A FEW DAYS, THE FAMILY DECIDED TO PULL THE PLUG, AND UNCLE BUD DIED. THE BROKEN NECK KILLED HIM. BUT HE DIED WHEN THEY ENDED LIFE SUPPORT. (ON A DIFFERENT NOTE, COULD THIS MEAN THAT DAVID CUT GOLIATH’S HEAD OFF AS AN ACT OF MERCY? THINK ABOUT IT.)

“sententious,” ANY BOOK OF WRITING THAT DEDICATES SO MUCH SPACE TO LAW WILL SEEM, WELL, LEGALISTIC. LEVITICUS WAS NEVER MEANT OT BE READ AS A STORY BOOK.

“foolish” AT THE RISK OF SOUNDING SENTENTIOUS, I’D HATE TO BE THIS AUTHOR ON JUDGEMENT DAY!

“, and even at times ill-intentioned.” I COULD ASSUME I KNOW WHAT THEY MEAN HERE, BUT I’M NOT REALLY SURE. AGAIN, THE BIBLE CONTAINS A WIDE RANGE OF LITERARY STYLES, BUT THE OVERARCHING THEME IS REDEMPTION BETWEEN THE CREATOR AND HIS CREATION THROUGH THE SACRIFICIAL DEATH (AND ULTIMATE RESURRECTION) OF THAT CREATOR. SOUNDS PRETTY WELL INTENTIONED TO ME.

(At this point, I am finished with quoting the article from GQ, and will return to normal print.)

The idea that the Bible is a book that can, and perhaps should, be ignored is laughable to any open minded person with a rudimentary understanding of history. This is the book that inspired DaVinci's "Last Supper" and Michelangelo's "Sistine Chapel"; Handel's "Messiah" and Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony". This was the book that inspired David Wilkerson to start Teen Challenge, the single most effective drug rehabilitation program in the world, and inspired William Wilberforce to fight for the end of slavery in nineteenth century England. This is the book that inspired the music of Fanny Crosby and Mahalia Jackson; the literature of Tolkien, Tolstoy, and Chesterton and the poetry of John Donne and TS Eliot.

But it's effect is both more profound and more personal than the examples above. This is the book that changed an abusive slave trader named John Newton into an abolitionist and hymn writer. It is the book that changed an arrogant atheist named CS Lewis into a brilliant author and perhaps greatest apologist of the last century. It is the book that changed KORN's drug dependent guitarist Head Welch into a sober husband, father and advocate for the homeless.

If the boys at Gentlemen's Quarterly think the Bible is unworthy of their time and attention, they're not alone. Societies from Nero's Roman Empire to modern day Iran agree with them. But I, for one, would encourage any open minded gentlemen (or ladies for that matter) to look into it. It might not Have anything to say about "The Five Flyest Shoes in Fashion" (seriously, this is currently an article on the GQ web site) but you might find some even more meaningful ideas.

A Few Testimonies Minimize

 

The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I just wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

Archive Minimize

Tag Cloud Minimize