I (Insert your name) Cherry-pick the Bible

Our family recently moved back to my home town of upstate of New York.  After the long, exhausting and tedious process of unpacking we discovered a few items that we could part with so I placed an ad in one of our local papers.  A few days passed when I received an email asking if we still had the humidifier for sale.  I replied that yes in fact we did and would be happy to let it go for next to nothing.  The next day a gentleman came and shortly thereafter both he and our humidifier were on the road to his place.  I thought little of our transaction and immediately went on with my day caring for our toddler, dinner prep, laundry, vacuuming etc.

Later that evening I decided to log on to the computer and respond to a few pending emails.  Upon opening my account found, to my surprise, several emails from “Bob”, the gentleman who bought our humidifier.   Was he ok, I thought? Was something wrong with the humidifier (though I checked if it worked and it did just fine)?  Did he leave something at our house etc.?  Concern and curiosity ran through my mind as I clicked his first email.

Leviticus 18:22 “Thou shalt not lie with man-kind, as with womankind; it is abomination” was his first email followed by a lecture about Gods word and how His word does not change.  I scanned his very long and drawn out interpretations of the five presumed anti-gay verses, and clicked delete.  The next email started with Romans 1:27 “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of women….”  His almost four-page email went on and on and of course ended with exactly why God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.  Apparently during his visit Bob noticed that our household’s marriage dynamic were that of same gender spouses and he had to make it his mission and duty to inform us that we were spiritually in wrong standing.  I pondered, for a moment, about responding with a litany of Bible verses (starting with Ezekiel 16:49 which negates the Sodom and Gomorrah gay theory) however due to my pending emails and demanding toddler, I simply thanked him for his time and for sharing his interpretation of the sacred text.

Bobs email got me thinking however.  Not only do I strongly disagree with his literal interpretation of the five clobber verses but why do so many conveniently finger-point and cherry-pick the Bible (as well as Qur’an/Torah/book of Mormon etc.)?  Does it make people feel better about themselves?  Do people feel as if they are in good spiritual standing by picking and choosing verses in an attempt to condemn others?  Does cherry-picking make some feel enlightened or knowledgeable?  Does cherry-picking and pointing the finger make some feel authoritative? Although I do not have the answer, I do know we ALL cherry-pick the Bible.  I decided that I could either spend my energy being bothered by Bob’s attacks, or use his inappropriate emails as an opportunity to motivate this blog entry.

When I was a teenager I remember talking with my friends after they had an upsetting squabble with their parents and without fail would hear, “doesn’t it say somewhere in the Bible that parents should not put their children to wrath” (Ephesians 6:4)? I also recall my own parents on many an occasion reciting “The Bible clearly says you must honor your mother and father” (Exodus 20:12).

Recently I was speaking with my aunt, whose husband is a minister, and she shared with me that any time she would disagree with my uncle he would remind her that, “woman should submit to their husbands” (Colossians 3:18).  To this she would respond, “if you loved me like Christ loved the church (Ephesians 5:25) we wouldn’t be having this disagreement.”

Fact is we ALL can throw around Bible verses to prove any point we want to make.  Whether you are a male and want women “checked” married and want to keep your spouse “checked”, white and want to keep blacks “checked”, straight and want to keep gays “checked”, or a parent and want to keep your kids “checked.” Whether you are circumcised or not, Christian or not, choose to masturbate, marry or stay celibate we can all cherry-pick the Bible and “check” one another. We can either forgive others’ wrong-doings using the Bible (Matthew 6:14) or justify our vengeful behavior with an eye for an eye (Exodus 21:24) – the examples are endless.  But when we “check” one another aren’t we (allow me to cherry-pick now) judging one another (Matthew 7:1-2) and the Bible clearly states that we should not. That being said are we, as Christians, supposed to keep our voice and light under the metaphoric bushel? Absolutely not, but opinions not asked for are nothing less than intrusion.  I do not recall intrusion being a virtue of Christ and we are called to, at least work on, becoming more Christ-like (John 3:30).

In my almost thirty years of walking with the Father I have come to the conclusion that the Bible must be taken all seriously, however not all literally.  If we were to take all Bible verses literally, out of context, and without the historical perspectives which they were written, we would all be walking around with one eye (Mark 9:47).

Romans 3:23 states, “For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Imagine this world if instead of using our energy to intrude, cherry-pick and finger-point, we used it to love and pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and let God handle the rest (1 John 4:7-8).

8 Comments

Filed under Bashing, Bible, Christ, Christian, Gay bashing, Homosexuality, Hypocrite, Leviticus, Love, Mormon, Pious, Qu'ran, Romans, Torah

8 responses to “I (Insert your name) Cherry-pick the Bible

  1. Charles J

    Jason – you are so kind, thoughtful and self-effacing to respond to Mr. Smallmind in that way. It also speaks much about the kind way you (a supposed sinner) treated the supposedly righteous (but condemning) man. Also reminds me of another scripture passage, Luke 18 – the pharisee and the publican. Which of these men went away justified? Good for you Jason. You have inspired me to try harder to do the right thing.

  2. Thank you for such a lovely reply, and for taking the time to read my blog :)

  3. Read your post on Believe Out Loud. I agree that you are so gracious to respond as you did to the e-mail. Much more the Christian example, in my opinion. I write a bit about inclusion in the church and also get a bit (or a lot) of Bible thumping in response. Enjoyed the perspective in your article. My best to you and your family.

  4. ebiladdress

    Subscribing to the blog, thank you for your posts!

  5. Janice T

    An amazing response to another’s judgement of your life…I believe it is through choosing a positive when others choose judgement as the only choice there truly is….Thanks for sharing yours with us!

  6. Let me just say while reading this blog I vacillated between being moved to tears and wanting to shout YES … we ALL have shortcomings, we ALL sin … we ALL cherry-pick … It is in realizing WE TOO have done such things that empathy is established. I am evermore weary of people trying to strain a gnat out of my life while they are swallowing a camel in their own … BUT as the popular proverb says … Not my circus … Not my monkey … LOL. I have so much in my life that needs addressing I have little time and too little arrogance for judgmental rants toward someone else. I am so glad to have met you and become acquainted with your blog … I love your perspective … I love your heart and your spirit … It is such a pleasure to get to know someone who is an apple of God’s eye …

  7. Juan De Llano

    Great. Thanks!!!!!

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