Monday, August 10, 2009

Week 2: Types of Bible Bashing


Well birthday bashes (as in punches: See: Birthday Punches at Wikipedia) were always a fun and loving part of birthdays as a kid. It is in the attempts to avoid them and also the expectation. This with going to Maccas for a Happy Meal and friends. I sort of understand why you don't do it, if you have lots of friends (especially big ones, or sisters- trust me) and you get older, you might end up with lots of bruises or a concussion. While the bible claims to generally be from God, speaking through people. You might want to avoid His bashes, as the whole power behind the universe is behind His punch. Yet when we look at His perfect likeness, as seen in Jesus, His idea of a bible bash is quite different to ours.

Birthday Punches Not for the faint hearted.

The Bible does say a wise person thinks about death, yet Ecclesiastes says even wisdom might be meaningless as we cannot understand everything.

While the God in the bible holds the whole power of the universe in His punch, He seems to love and serve us (we're still here). Our thinking seems so different from God's, which might be abnormal, alien or weird. But then, if we really lived by our own standards, we'd also probably be dead, we're pretty hard on ourselves and each other. And there it is, we fail to live to any standard including God's. The bible might tell us what God's standard is, if we look and how to meet it, what might otherwise seem impossible.

On Kid's Bible Bash Music

To understand this different and amazing God of the bible, we need to start with the basics of bible bashing, we can go back to the beginning, like bible kindergarten.

Yes ! I was a Sunday School kid, very sad I know, learning about the bible before church. Kids bible songs are cool though, like: "Father Abraham had many sons" and "This is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it." I love Colin Buchanan stuff, "we like sheep have gone astray bah bah doobahbah...and the Lord has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all sin." Check out: Isaiah 53:6 . I love this Aussie jingle bells song . Ok, for those who wagged Sunday school (you may or may not regret it after these) links and music videos:

Sunday School Songs at e-bible teacher

Kitties sing JoyJoyJoy

But what about Bible bashing ? The Americans never fail to disappoint. For kids, and others, Bible Bash is the latest word for church. David Cook writes Beach Boyesque lyrics (sort of):

Splish, splash, it’s a Bible bash.
Gonna have fun in the Son—God’s Son!
The words of our Father
Are flowing like water,
So we oughta ride the wave of God’s love!

It even has sheet music and other verses.

Check out the Splish Splash Video
I think I get "Spirit Fingers" now from the film Bring it On


Immersed in Bible Bashing

The number of types of bible bashing, shows the many ways the bible can be used. There are so many ways it is re-contextualised. Many of our sayings, come from it, here are some examples of how average people bible bash without knowing it:
  • ...Who can straighten what he (God) has made crooked ?... (Ecclesiastes 7:13)- (Gattaca)
  • ...there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
  • ...there is a time for everything... (Ecclesiastes 3)
  • ...all come from dust and to dust they return... (Ecclesiastes 3:20)
  • The end of a matter is better than its beginning...(Ecclesiastes 7:8)
  • drink and be glad (merry)... (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
  • ...time and chance happen to them all (Ecclesiastes 9:11)
  • What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again (Ecclesiastes 1:9)- (Same as "history repeats" or "history works in cycles")
  • ....Wisdom is better than strength (Ecclesiastes 9:16)
  • ...but money is the answer for everything. (Ecclesiastes 10:19)
  • ...with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge the more grief. (Inverted this is ignorance is bliss). (Ecclesiastes 1:18)
  • Better one hand with tranquility than two hands with toil (Ecclesiastes 4:6)
This is from just one of the 66 sub-books in the (Protestant Bible); Ecclesiastes.
See: Bible Gateway Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes is such a great bible bash !

In Australia, we are drowned in a culture that uses bible verses continually. Unfortunately because these excerpts (bits) are taken out of context, they generally don't point to God, or even their original context, in day to day living.


The Bible Has Bash

The bible basher in Ecclesiastes is Qohelet (the assembler), identified in Ecclesiastes as most likely Solomon by clear hints like "The Son of David" (Ecclesiastes 1:1). He repeats: "everything is meaningless a chasing after the wind (not fart- but why not ?)." While all is meaningless, this seems to refer to people's schemes, and their fruit, which gets them nowhere but death, injustice, suffering and more meaninglessness. Quohelet says:
This only have I found:
God made man upright, but men have gone in search of many schemes (Ecclesiastes 7:29)
Was Solomon just being honest and real ? If we are honest, his observations might be very real in our own lives. With all our wisdom, knowledge and insight, what really happens ? According to Solomon, what drives our schemes, ambitions:
And I saw that all labour and all achievement spring from man's envy of his neighbour. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. (Ecclesiastes 4:4)

The Visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon by Sir Edward John Poynter (1890)
Solomon is considered the wisest person who may ever have lived (1 Kings 10:23) One of few people God spoke to face to face. Renowned for wealth, power, building the first temple in Jerusalem and having 700 wives and 300 concubines. Solomon was no inexperienced nobody.

When we take an honest look at ourselves and our world, we may become skeptical, cynical or negative, bitter and twisted. Otherwise we live with this tortured smile of denial, where we have to have happy happy joy joy, despite the pressure of a mortgage, the suffering of our decaying body, management of sin and conflict, the norm of our daily lives. The book has a conclusion which explains the negativity. This epilogue may give the whole book its context and meaning, at least from the author's perspective:
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and Keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.
For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whet
her it be good or evil (note: judgment refers to judging whether something is good as well) (Ecclesiastes 12:13)

Solomon's Dream by Luca Giordano (1693)
Solomon's Dream in 1 Kings 3:5-15 repeated in 2 Chronicles 1:7-13 is the point where God blesses him with wisdom, riches, honor and all Solomon requests. All this because instead of asking for riches, long life or the death of his enemies, Solomon asked God for the wisdom to rule God's people with justice and discernment to know right from wrong.

Check out Solomon at Wikipedia
Check Out Solomon at Quartz Hill
World Mystery Archeology and Solomon
Set of Solomon Links


Solomon's Conclusion ?

So Solomon's bible bash might be summed up (for me): "Our schemes under this sun, are meaningless, eternally fruitless and negative, according to one wise guy (not wiseguy). So fear, revere and serve God, and don't let meaningless schemes and thinking, detract away from this purpose for which we were created."

You might come up with another summary. This is the point, to read personally with an open and critical mind. So take it or leave it, the bible is there and permeates our culture. We bash with it, in so many ways, some known, some unknown, even if we are not Christians.

Just before His epilogue. Solomon says:
The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings, like firmly embedded nails- given by one Shepherd. Be warned my son of anything in addition to them. Of making many books there is no end, and much study wearies the body. (Ecclesiastes 12:11-12)
These "words of the wise" or "collected sayings" might be a good description of the bible. At some point we have to decide what we will believe and whether we will follow it. This from a soup of books, ideas, teachers, family and wisdom, to which there is no end. And we need to ask, like Solomon, whether what we do has true meaning. We might ask, who is the "one Shepherd" in the passage ? Is it wisdom, is it God ? Is it God, because He is the only source of true wisdom ? And what is a shepherd ? Who is the character that protects the sheep, and keeps them in His protection, in the fold ? Psalm 23 might answer this, written by Solomon's father David, known as a shepherd. But the shepherd has a shepherd:
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23)
Maybe we should just honor God, The Great Shepherd, accepting what He gives us on our plate (our life) His provision, correction, truth and love, and enjoy this grace to us.


A Definition of Bible Bashing

Bible Bashing is any use of the bible or what it contains and represents. "Any use" entails various motives, functions and actions in the adoption of bible content. There are three types of bible bashing so far:
  • A bible bash is where two or more meet around the bible to discuss, present, seek or rejoice in its truth, in Jesus name (recommendation). Might be like the scripture, where two or more are gathered in my name, I'll (Jesus) be there. See: Matthew 18:20
  • The second form is bible bashing, where people use the bible to bash sin in their own lives or God uses it to bash sin generally. Might be like, trampling the serpent. See: 2 Timothy 3:16
  • The third form is "bashing the bible," where people misuse the bible to bash God or Jesus more than they already do, or just ignore the context of its words in irreverence to God.
Bible Bashing at The Punch "Australia's Best Conversation."
The Source Article:


Sunday School Homework : )

Given the theme of going back to kindergarten earlier. Ask yourself:
1. Is the "Brick Testament," (see last week) a good representation of the Bible's content ?
2. In what ways (if any) does the "Brick Testament" fail to represent the scriptures faithfully (if at all) ?

Next week: Effective Bible bashing ! How to do Bible bashing Better.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff Alf!! You should bible bash and be based lol :) And I'll do it with you. Think I can take the pain ;)