I was reading emails and catching up on almost a weeks worth of news reports. The majority of the reports were on the attacks on the US embassies and the rioting and burnings. One report told of a protestor screaming “I’m burning your Bible!” My first reaction was an inner snort and “well that certainly won’t get you the reaction you are looking for!”
My own reaction made me pause and think, “And why isn’t that upsetting to me?” Hubby says it is because “freedom of speech” has been ingrained in us these past 60+ years. Perhaps. Is the Bible important to me? Yes. To me it is the word of God given to us through prophets and Apostles of Jesus. Okay, that’s important. Why don’t I go berserk with outrage? Well, first, it is not my nature to go berserk with rage about much of anything. Freedom of speech must play a part in that. I think if I was witnessing a mob down at city hall burning Bibles, I’d probably be concerned and disquieted but I would think “You guys are fanatics and weird, but you have the right to be stupid if you want to, as long as you don’t break any laws or kill anyone”.
Just where did this complacency come from? I am friends with a community of Nuns. I have seen Mother JM become upset over things she knew were distressing or “hurting” God. I remember a time when I was a brand new Catholic and voraciously seeking God’s presence in my life. A visiting priest told an off-color joke to begin his sermon/homily. I was so shocked I gasped, but everyone around me was laughing. It made me doubt my own reaction. I waited until after Church and hurried to find my Nuns who were visiting that day to ask them about it. I found Mother with tears in her eyes, upset at how God had been injured by that. So, I was right and the priest had been wrong to speak what he did.
So, when did the Bible cease to be precious? Was it ever “precious” and special? I read in it every week, trying to absorb and learn more of God. I love the Gospels and have turned to the Psalms in times of special need. Did the Bible become ordinary because I own probably 10 different Bibles in various translations as well as one on my Nook? Does that make it less special? The Bible is easily accessable. If I wanted to, I could get one at Walmart. Why isn’t the tangible written word of God more important as a symbol of my beliefs as a Christian?
Is it the “separation of Church and State“? I remember before I became a Catholic, I believed that my religion and my religious beliefs were separate from my secular life. You didn’t talk about religion or prayer or God. Those things were private. Was that what I was taught as I grew up?
All of this has really made me stop and think. As a Christian, I have had several “mountaintop” experiences; those times when I was touched by the tangible presence and spirit of God that I felt I was wrapped in a bubble of pure love and joy! Those are special and cherished times and important in growing as a believer in Christ. But we live in this world and have to learn to rely on prayer as well as the word of God to survive.
As I am pondering these things, I realize my prayer life is more precious to me right now than the Bible. Prayer is my fellowship with God, my way to ask for strength, for mercy and grace for others, for everything. I know as we grow as Christians, we go through ‘seasons’ of learning and experiencing the things of God. There was a time of voracious reading of the Bible when I was a baby Christian and wanting to learn everything I could. Later, I was introduced to praying in tongues by my Charismatic Catholic Nuns and have depended on that gift ever since. It has made my prayer life full and rich and satisfying. I know God listens to me and answers prayers and that is very precious to me. All are ways to learn and to grow attuned to the voice of God in our lives and He touches each person differently. They become foundations we build on as we live our lives.
I feel I am rambling now. I know if I couldn’t have a Bible or access to one, I would be very upset. Do I want to be fanatical about this? Would I become a fanatic? I don’t think so. Fanaticism in anything accomplishes nothing. But perhaps I need a little more passion and a lot less complacency in my life. It has given me a lot to think about.
- Glossa-lalia Ii (reviseusagain.wordpress.com)
- The Turk Rips Up a Bible in Cairo (deprofundisclamaviadtedomine.wordpress.com)
- Iran guided by same fanaticism behind embassy attacks, Netanyahu says (timesofisrael.com)
- Reports: Protesters attack US Embassy, clash with police in Tunisia outburst (thehill.com)
- New violence sweeps countries across Islamic world (mcclatchydc.com)
- Protests spread in Arab world, more embassies come under attack (ctvnews.ca)