Peruse the shelves of any bookstore and you will find countless books within the “XYZ” for Dummies region; Excel for Dummies, Wine for Dummies, Hockey for Dummies and yes, WordPress for Dummies. I don’t take it as a personal affront on my intelligence to have to pick up a book ‘For Dummies’. The bulk of the time you wouldn’t be picking up a Dummies book if you were an expert. Maybe you would, to exercise your highly evolved brain and to just giggle and snort at us imbeciles!
While flipping through the index of Dummy books, I found the Bible for Dummies. This piqued my interest, but quickly caused me to question the Dummy statement. Scholars and Theologians have battled for centuries and ages over the meaning and teachings of the Bible. I’m not sure anyone would say that the teachings, both accepted and not accepted in today’s Bible could be explained dummified.
Wars have been waged and lost in the name of religion. Sadly, it’s likely that this will always be a sad truth. As the human race, with free will, we will always believe what we believe is the rightest right, more rightest, the righter…you know what I mean. Any argument is simply two sides attempting to convince the other party they are wrong and you are right. Any married couple knows that battle is futile and should just agree to disagree, but the wife is always right.
I am not a scholar, theologian or academic of any degree with letters after my name, but I have spent a lot of time in churches of varying teachings in my 46’ish years. And when it comes to the doctrines of the Bible, most have them have not agreed. And as you may know, I’m rather unfiltered and raw, this summary will be no different…
One denomination believed that since I had boobs, I couldn’t do anything besides bake a pie or teach Sunday School. Women were definitely not permitted to be in leadership, especially when it came to leading MEN! Now, I’m not a bra-burning feminist or protector of equal-uterus-equality, but I know that EVERYONE has been given Spiritual Gifts by our Creator, and it is a huge disservice to God AND His people to not work in the area of your gifts. If you have a knack for making a fan-freakin-tasting pie (not me) you would be great in the area of hospitality or fellowship. But if you can’t stand kids, it’s probably not a good idea to teach Sunday School even when they are giving you doe-eyes and begging for volunteers.
One former church wanted, no expected me to do a couple of cartwheels and have some other dude determine if I did enough to be forgiven. No offense to anyone in those churches, but I believe I can go right to the source, God, and ask for His forgiveness. And He will forgive and forget, not something we humans are likely to ever do. We like to keep lists of infractions just in case we have the opportunity later on to attack you with that list and throw lemon juice on the paper cut.
And I won’t even begin to speak of the church that would have made me stand in front of the entire congregation and confess my sin which led to my divorce and THEN the SuperDudes in Charge would have to have some hoops for me to jump through before they would decide IF I repented enough and if THEY felt that reconciliation was beyond hope. WTF!?
But I digress, back to the Bible for Dummies; and the lack of being able to dummify it. I truly believe it can be simplified. A pastor friend of ours spoke on the theory of the First Adam and Last Adam. A concept I’d never heard before, but the light-bulb popped on over my head!!
Let’s start at the beginning of the Bible, God created the first Adam with the hopes that he would do the right thing, the way God wanted things done. But He also gave Adam free-will, the opportunity to do it his own way. Was that a bad plan? No way! I sure wouldn’t want a life that every decision was planned in advance for me and I had no choices. I’d be stuck with one hair color for like, years and years!!! So, since Adam was a bonehead and thought he knew better than God (no one here guilty of that are they?) he set the future generations up for a fall. A lot of stuff about floods and wars and locusts and bad kings and bathing beauties follows that, and while it is important, it isn’t the heart of the matter.
God shows us the heart of the matter – another chance. He said I will put skin on MyGrace and give the people an opportunity to love me and follow my teachings and love one another. And to no big surprise, only a few dudes and a cool chick initially got it, most of the time anyway. They still had a hard time wrapping their human pinheads around the concept of a gimongous God that loved us even though He knew we had our priorities screwed up. We blew it, again.
What was the custom in the Old Testament when people wanted God to listen and forgive them or provide a bigger chariot or whatever? A blood sacrifice. (The NIV version of the Bible references ‘sacrifice’ 303 times in the Old Testament) A bunch of rules had to be followed and in the proper order to make it count. A certain kind of cow, from the certain field, with the certain whatever. God knew that, His people knew it. So here we are, screwed up and not following along, and God decides it’s important to have a blood sacrifice. THE biggest sacrifice!! Jesus, God in the Flesh, the Last Adam, went to the cross as a blood sacrifice for us all. One and done. No sacrifice was bigger or more powerful, even while we were/are still boneheads.
So super simplified…. God created the First Adam, he screwed up and ate from the no-no tree and blew it for generations to come. With me so far? God gave us another chance with the Last Adam, the whopper of all sacrifices. One and done. He took all our dumb-ass sins to the cross and His blood spilled like wine from wounds inflicted on Him. He chose that, knowing that we would still be boneheads…oh wait! No, Dummies!!!
So, perhaps the title of the ‘how to’ book wasn’t wrong, it just lacked a pronoun and proper punctuation! It shows the intent of the God breathed words on its pages.
“The Bible, for You Dummies”