Tuesday, October 02, 2012
This is your brain... this is your brain on the bible
For the verse, you had to have some kind of bible nearby, and plan for reading it, but again, someone in your house probably learned how to read books out loud, and/or you have a neighbor who can read the bible to you. So you've got that step down.
Then, in the Faith Ink Faith 5 model for faith acts in the home, the third step invites you to:
TALK about how the verse relates to your highs & lows
Suddenly, you have a brain freeze.
Because really, let's try a hypothetical. Let's say your "high" was eating a red-velvet-cake Concrete at Shakes. Let's say the bible verse you select, the upcoming epistle for next Sunday, reads, "In many and various ways God spoke to us of old through the prophets, but in these latter days God has spoken to us by a son" (Hebrews 1:1).
Really? Really? I'm supposed to figure out how Hebrews 1:1 relates to eating delightfully indulgent cake-infused vanilla custard?
When I lead groups in the Faith 5, it's always this step that is the most daunting. With small children, I even just skip it. We jump straight to praying over our highs & lows, and then a blessing.
However, let's pause with this one for a bit, to see the benefits.
First of all, it's not at all surprising to discover that bringing an ancient text into conversation with our daily life experience is somewhat difficult. It's an old book, after all. Consider. Although Priscilla (who may have written the Epistle to the Hebrews) probably tasted cheese and other milk products, I really doubt she ever heard of red velvet cake, and she definitely didn't have early indication of there being awesome custard shops in North America, in Northwest Arkansas in the Ozarks (although too bad for her).
This step in the Faith 5 requires us to engage our brains. We're going to need to think outside the box, do a bit of free association. There is your brain... and then there is your brain on the bible.
Try this on for size. The last time I was at Shakes eating a red velvet and custard delicacy, I was watching the traffic, noticing my neighbors, and pondering Mama Carmen's the Fayetteville Prayer Room on the other side of the street (I was also trying to help three small children eat their ice cream--no wait, or was I poaching some of theirs, now I can't remember...)
I was thinking--you know... the gospel really has been on the move. It hasn't remained static, in one place. It keeps adapting to new places. It's even found a way to be native to Northwest Arkansas.
So here I am, a pastor in the midst of some Christian neighbors, and perhaps I can just pray for their ministry. Perhaps I can simply celebrate that God in God's great mercy gives us gifts--like red velvet concretes--and lets us eat them surrounded by family and in close proximity to neighbors who continue to proclaim the message of Christ.
Yesterday I even stopped in at the Fayetteville Prayer Room, and put a prayer on the wall for our call committee and our potential calling of a Pastor of New Communities. I know there are people over there with the spiritual gift of intercession who will pray fervently for us. Maybe some day I should buy some ice cream and carry it across to the prayer warriors there. It might sustain them as they pray for me, for us.
Maybe. Think. Ponder. Pray.
All of that was just off the cuff, some initial thoughts about the connection between my highs & lows and the scripture lesson I read today. Some of the connections aren't "logical." Others are. But who cares if they are logical? They're still worth the time. They exercise the brain. They open up the heart. There aren't right and wrong answers, after all. The Faith 5 is simply an invitation to practice, to try connecting scripture to daily life.
And now the next time I go to Shakes, I'm going to think about this blog post and the various ways God speaks, even while I order my cold plastic cup of delectability.
And so will you, dear reader, so will you.
Which is of course the point of the exercise.