The A La Carte Bible 3


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I had this really powerful point. I could barely restrain my eagerness to share my Very Good Point. It was going to shatter illusions, drop scales from the eyes of the masses, alter millions of lives and make a tremendous impact on souls.

My VGP was backed by Scripture, and as I shared my VGP with others, it was clear I was on to something. And then I opened my Bible, and my Bible dictionaries, and my commentaries and concordances.

I had to kill my precious VGP.

I’m traveling to Austin later this week to speak at a women’s retreat, and I’m excited and anxious and ready; ready to meet these amazing women, to visit a fun town, to hug some virtual friends IRL. But when I discovered that my VGP was borne of desire for truth and not founded in actual truth, I worried.

If I couldn’t say what I had wanted to say, my message would fall short. Worse yet, I’d have to totally revamp my VGP and my Very Good Message.

I wanted to make the case, based on Romans 8, that there is a difference between slavery and servanthood. I wanted to tell the ladies that being a slave to sin was to ramble the earth unloosed from our heavenly worldview, to be untethered from a mighty God, to not have a say in our slavery to the dark underlord. But that we could be servants to a better God, a better way.

I wanted to draw a line in the dirt. I wanted a clear and pretty picture of freedom in Christ, and I wanted it absent the problematic semantics of slavery.

Truth: what I wanted and what is true are not always (fairly regularly) the same.

I’ll spare you the Bible lesson, but suffice it to say, the word I wanted to be there, right in the text in black, permanent ink, and inscribed on my heart was not in the text. Servant does not appear magically so that it can support my opinion. Slave, however, crawls across the page like a persistent news ticker, begging for attention.

I could have done it. I could have cast aside the words of scholars and plowed ahead with my idea. I could have twisted the pages into gymnastic knots trying to prove my point. Shabbily and out of context, but I could have done it. Except I don’t read from an A La Carte Bible.

My VGP is beside the point. My efficacy as a speaker is beside the point. Maybe the end wasn’t bringing thoughtful bits of luminescent glory to the crowds, but to bow. To the process, to the word, to the Truth.


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3 thoughts on “The A La Carte Bible

  • Nancy Franson

    I belong to a church which sometimes gives me a big, old, pounding theological headache. Sometimes I get a little crazy about how tightly twisted we get around doctrinal matters, as in, Can’t we just get out there and do this stuff?>/I>

    But then there’s this part. This part where God has come down and taken all the trouble to reveal himself to us, and I think he wants us to know him as he actually is. Not as I imagine him or as I’d sometimes prefer him to be.

    Integrity, Miss Jennifer. That’s what you’ve got. In spades.

  • pastordt

    Great homiletic (and exegetical) choice, Jennifer. That’s what comes from putting ourselves under the Word and not spilling what we think we want to see over it. Well done.

  • perfectnumber628

    Yes- I totally know how this feels. Coming up with some really awesome, earth-shattering insight, but then when I start to look into it a little more, it’s just not supported and I have to be a little sad and abandon it…