The Curse of the How To…

Web 2.0 with it’s user generated content has made just about every form of knowledge available. Everything is on the web. Everything! Rote memory belongs right next to dinosaurs in museums: why bother memorising anything when we have search engines? In depth learning is out on the trash heap too: why bother learning about fundamental principles when typing “How to” on a search engine yields the information needed right here and right now? Tragically, we treat the Bible in the same way.

Genesis 1 is no longer a creation narrative but a creation doctrine. Proverbs’ poetry is now a field pocket guide, it’s panoramic view is now a bullet list of daily survival tips. Daniel’s ever deepening experience with God, leading to a theophany has become a PowerPoint presentation of predictions. We are only interested in immediate gratification and thus, a book meant to point us to God is reduced to a religious search engine. Don’t open your mouth too wide in shock when you find that a lot of Bible thumpers know very little of it’s content.

1 Peter is not a “How to survive persecution” guide, it is a heartfelt letter encouraging the faithful to draw from Jesus’ resurrection, encouragement to live on purpose for God in the very fire of persecution. It is a letter pointing the believers not to religious escapism, or militance but to Christ infused humble perseverance. We are not to called to be cowering doormats but neither are we called to put on bandoleers and light the fires of revolution. We are called to spread the vivifying fire of the gospel to those around us, being careful to not lose sight of the Source.
2 Peter is not a white paper on heresy but an exhortation to hold to the Truth and Blessed Hope by calmly weighing the evidence of Scripture instead of mindlessly following heresies. God didn’t start the universe and leave it running while He went off to play a round of celestial golf, He is actively involved in leading us to a glorious existence. This glorious future is not a distant utopia that we dream of when life gets hard but a reality that we can begin enjoying here. Heaven is for those who have it in their hearts. Only those who walk daily with Christ can bear to live with Him in eternity. If Jesus bores you now, there is no future magic wand that will turn you to Him… You must choose Him, every day.
A “How to…” approach to the Bible can be helpful but it can never bring the same benefit as soaking in it and letting it reach every nook and cranny of your soul can. Jesus is more than a handyman, He is our resurrected Lord and He has availed all we need to live full lives and a whole lot more.
photo credit: perzonseo Woman using her iphone at home office via photopin (license)