How often do you read your Bible? That’s a question that people react to quite differently. For some people, having that question posed to you, (especially by your minister), can result in a feeling that you might describe as guilt. The Bible is one of those parts of our lives that many people feel we should do more of. Just like we should eat healthier foods, and exercise more.
The theme of the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly I just attended in Vancouver was, “Dusting off the Bible for the 21st Century.” To talk about that topic presupposes that we can talk honestly about our relationship with the Bible. And I’m not sure it’s that easy to do.
Because many people feel that they should read their Bible, they may not always answer accurately when asked how often they read it (especially if it’s their minister asking). Sociologists have found that polling a population about church attendance rarely gets accurate results. That is, if people were really going to church as often as they say they are going to church, a lot more churches would have a lot more people in them. So ironically, one of the things we are most likely to lie about, are religious practices! (Incidentally, I had a friend who worked in a Christian book store, and they know from experience that the item most likely to be stolen, is the Bible! Who would steal a Bible?!)
People respond to questions about religious practices with answers they’d like to be able to give. In other words, what they are really saying is, “In an ideal world, I would be reading my bible regularly.” Or, “If I wasn’t so busy, I would be reading my bible more often.”
Just like we would all be exercising and eating properly! This week we are going to start tackling the topic of our relationship to the Bible. Dust off your Bible (if you have to), and come to church on Sunday!
This week’s prayer: For this book we give thanks! From all the people who love their Bibles, from all the people who would love their bibles if they had time, and from all the people who think they should love their bibles. Amen!