Laziness… not a nice word. So very negative. I think “lack of motivation” has a kinder, gentler ring to it. Either way, both describe modern man’s approach to the Bible. We don’t mine the deep riches of the Word, because we don’t want to do the hard work of understanding it.
Hard work? I hear all the time from students and adults alike that they have such a hard time knowing what the Bible is talking about. Which I find difficult to believe. Most Bible’s I pick up are in English. And while the Bible writers weren’t all literary geniuses, they were at least able to construct sentences. They even make Bibles for every possible reading ability. I’m not exactly sure what level the NIV weighs in at, but it has to be somewhere around the 8th grade. If they could just do Cliff Notes, or comic book, or put it on DVD… oh wait, I guess that’s been done.
I think the real problem is that we want our religion to be simple, easy to understand, not requiring much mental energy to really grasp. There is even a (semi-)theological reason for seeing Christianity as being simple. If Christianity is anything, it is universal – meaning it is available to all. Regardless of ethnicity, wealth, gender, education, social class… therefore, if it is going to be universally accessible, it must be necessarily simple.
The pressure to make issues of faith simple is considerable. More and more, people in the pews want simple and practical answers that they can walk home and put into practice that day with guaranteed results. So it seems that all the time there is someone who is trying to reduce Christianity to its lowest common denominator. What is the one thing that will insure that my life with God works out ok?
You know like, “love God, love others.” What else do we need to know?
If that’s all we needed to know, then why don’t we tear the page out that has that verse on it (chances are it won’t spill over onto the next page), and then cut out the other words on the page… don’t want to be bothered by a WHOLE page of words. Maybe even paste it to an index card and laminate it. In fact, that’s a great idea! “All you need to know from the Bible on one handy index card.” I could sell them for a buck fifty in Christian bookstores nation-wide (even internationally… it can’t be too difficult to translate one verse). Even better, a nice font, cheesy graphic, charge two whole dollars. I’m guessing that I would retire a bazillionaire within a year. Who in the world needs to bother with the other 783,133 words in that big giant book we call the Bible?
Here’s a news flash… Yes, the Bible is long, dense, complicated, and hard to understand. And so is life. If we are going to have a faith that actually addresses all the bewildering twists and turns of life (and death, and eternity) then I would fully expect the book that explains that faith and the God of it to be (at least) as complex.
Set the sound bites and simplistic reductions to the side. Grab a Bible. Possibly even a Bible dictionary or commentary (crazy, I know). And dig deep into this book that we say (once again… at least explicitly) are the very word’s of God Himself.
But who has time for all that… American Idol is on in two hours!!!