Steven James has written a powerful post on CNN's Belief Blog entitled, "Stop sugarcoating the Bible." Below are some excerpts. What do you think?
The Bible is a gritty book. Very raw. Very real. It deals with people just like us, just as needy and screwed up as we are, encountering a God who would rather die than spend eternity without them.
Yet despite that, it seems like Christians are uncomfortable with how earthy the Bible really is. They feel the need to tidy up God.
God's message was not meant to be run through some arbitrary, holier-than-thou politeness filter. He intended the Bible to speak to people where they're at, caught up in the stark reality of life on a fractured planet.
And rather than shy away from difficult and painful topics, the Old Testament includes vivid descriptions of murder, cannibalism, witchcraft, dismemberment, torture, rape, idolatry, erotic sex and animal sacrifice. According to St. Paul, those stories were written as examples and warnings for us (1 Corinthians 10:11). So obviously they were meant to be retold without editing out all the things we don't consider nice or agreeable.
I find it encouraging that Jesus never came across as pietistic. In fact, he was never accused of being too religious; instead he partied so much that he was accused of being a drunkard and a glutton (Matthew 11:19).
Jesus never said, "The Kingdom of God is like a church service that goes on and on forever and never ends." He said the kingdom was like a homecoming celebration, a wedding, a party, a feast to which all are invited.
This idea was too radical for the religious leaders of his day. They were more concerned about etiquette, manners, traditions and religious rituals than about partying with Jesus. And that's why they missed out.
That's why we miss out.
We don’t need to edit God. We need to let him be the author of our new lives.
Check out the entire post, here.