GodReflection: My Bible Doesn’t Read Like Yours
I just returned from a long-awaited cousins reunion.
What a wonderful gathering of diverse people. Nine cousins with their families, an aunt and an uncle brought joy and warmth to the room. And to think, everyone is a member of my extended family.
In the presence of four generations we shared the stories and auctioned family heirlooms to each other for a family memorial gift to present to a children’s home in the name of our recently deceased cousin Derrell.
We retold stories of Grandpa. We played dominoes and cards together, ate together, sang together, and worshipped together.
We lived family history.
Often, I’ve claimed to have been reared on a church pew. It never occurred to me to ask my parents, but having known them for almost six decades I suspect I went from the hospital to church on the first Sunday of my life.
I was born in the Chihuahuan Desert.
Yes, it was in the USA in an actual hospital at the middle of our little town. The state of New Mexico still carried the scent of its new frontier roots.
Its native-born residents and those who came from other states were more of the—can I say make it work—fresh from farm life folks trying to figure out how to create a livelihood without crops, cultivation and harvest. We weren’t exactly on the radar screen of big city people.
As with frontier generations my family was from a love by show rather than tell background. Therefore, I don’t recall hearing the word love vocalized much among kinfolks but its expression into my life from family and church was never in doubt.
I knew we were family.
I was raised with very clear do’s and don’ts while given a huge amount of freedom
From family, I learned both the concept of sin against God and allegiance to Jesus prior to my own personal encounter with Scripture.
Raised in a time of racial segregation we were far enough off of the radar screen that segregated schools, restaurants, bathrooms and water fountains were never an issue.
Shamefully however, churches and neighborhood were divided along racial lines. At school, many of my best friends were from families of Mexican and African origin. None of those friends were in my church.
The family value of education flowed from grandparents, parents, aunts and uncle’s rural school influence of the previous generation. Everyone learned to read.
As we learned to read the skill was aligned with each unique personality to be used throughout life in diverse ways and different degrees.
The reading family value significantly added richness and understanding to my own faith walk.
It is beyond my comprehension why my birth came within a specific heritage, racial, socio-economic family. I am sure that in ways that I don’t recognize the family lens influences the way I read my Bible.
Because I wasn’t born into your family my Bible doesn’t read like yours.
Since you weren’t born into my family and since you walked a different path your own unique familial eyeglasses are made from a completely different set of lenses. It is through those glasses that you read God’s Holy Bible.
God’s Word gets screened through a value system influenced from our family backgrounds.
It is one of many diverse strands that Scripture flows through as God’s inspired message speaks to my soul.
However, as we explore the reality that each person reads her or his Bible from their own unique point of view how can we be assured we hear God’s call? How can I know that I am reading what God wants me to hear?
I want to explore the obvious question in the next post. Since we all read the Bible differently, can we all share the heart of Scripture that is the core message of our Bibles?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection: I Wasn’t Born Into Your Family