Aug 10, 2009

Need some help...

I've been reading the Bible. Cover to cover. It's surprisingly quite interesting and I find that depending on what's going on, it can be difficult to put down. (How many more words ending in "ing" could I have possibly used in that sentence?!)

Somewhere in Leviticus (?) there was a story about an orgy. Someone was upset about it and so he put a spear through the offending parties' genitals and they were killed. Gross. Ok, that happens... a few pages after that there was a story of Balaam and his donkey. He was told not to go somewhere but he went anyway. He was riding his donkey and the donkey stopped suddenly in the middle of the road. Balaam was mad so he got off the donkey, kicked it, yelled at it, then got back on and they continued down the road. Next time, the donkey veered off the road and Balaam was thrown (or something like that, either way he was mad). He yelled, beat the donkey. This happened another time. The donkey had been seeing an angel with a sword in the road and was trying to protect the man.

At some point in the scripture, it says "God gave speech to the donkey and the donkey said..."

Ummm.... is it just me or is there something wrong with this?! I'm not doubting God, or perhaps I may be, but this isn't something we talk about in church. Why? Why skip over things that don't make sense?

Anyway................ so I talked to someone I know, J, who is in seminary school. Her response was "must something that is true be factual?"


Help me. I would LOVE to know your thoughs on this. Does something HAVE to be factual to be TRUE? I cannot think of much... but it makes sense. I also talked with K about this and she brought up a great point about how some scripture was written... i.e. wine was plentiful and people drank a lot and they are the same people who wrote the Word. So... ok point taken. Still, the more important question is above. However, the alcohol is also a great point. And it makes sense. Reference Esther 1:7-8 (I think, I know it's in 1-12 somewhere!).

Please share!


pippasmum said...

I don't know whether this will be helpful to you or not. There are times that when I read scripture, I feel like I just can't get a handle on things or that my totally human brain just can fathom something. I could either agonize over it forever or I can do what I choose to do - I recognize that the Bible comes from God and that God is so much greater than me that at times, I, in my humanity, just don't have the capacity to understand. I try and focus on what I do understand, pray for wisdom and not let it get me too bogged down (nitpicking at small issues can really begin to keep you from seeing the bigger picture that God wants you to see). I know that for some people, creation vs. evolution can get them really confused. For me, that isn't an issue, it just doesn't bother me. I know that God created the universe and that is enough for me. The thing that sometimes can get me a bit ... well, bogged down is the whole Trinity thing - separate yet together, Father and Son yet equal and fully God. I don't disbelieve, I just find that it can make my head hurt. I just choose to accept that I am not at a stage that I can understand and I hope that someday, it will become clearer to me.
I guess the other thing to do is to find people whose opinion you value, who use scripture and prayer to have a Godly outlook and who are respectful of questions and discuss with them. I did Alpha at our church a few years ago (even as a lifelong believer and church member, it never hurts to talk about the basics) and it really helped me. Nicky Gumble has a book called Big Questions or something like that where he speaks directly to the biggest stumbling blocks for people reluctant to accept Christianity - there might be something there. Good luck!

Hope Inselmann said...

I would agree with the previous comment in that there are a lot of things in Scripture that we just aren't meant to understand. However, as believers, we have to choose either to accept the Word as truth, or to not accept it We can't pick and choose what parts to believe. There are cases where the BIble uses figures of speech and analogies, as we see in Psalms. But, those are pretty obvious. (Take the images in Song of Solomon, for example). In the case of the donkey, I believe it's true because God is all powerful and he can do that. He brought back Jesus from the grave after three days, after all. It may not be something we'd expect, but He can do anything.
There are truths to be found in stories that may not be based on facts. The parables would be great examples of that. However, the story of the donkey isn't told as a parable, so if we choose to believe God's word, we choose to believe that this incident happened as fact.
I spent the last two years studying theology with a seminary graduate and will be helping to teach classes this fall. Much of that time was spent learning how to study and interpret scripture. Before we even looked at the Word, we discussed the importance of accepting it as the infallible Word of God.
I hope this helps! :)

Nellie Dee said...

Thanks so much for adding me to your following. (But you already have so many!) Makes me feel very special. :-)
My comment about your honesty is that's the first step - Honesty!
And, it's a process! We never arrive until we get to heaven. So in the meantime, we get to enjoy the trip!

"Sometimes I'd like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine, and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I'm afraid God would ask me the same question."
You don't change the world by trying to change the world; you change the world by changing yourself.
-Gerry Straub