Today marks Day Ninety of my 365 day writing challenge. I am approximately 1/4 of the way there!I have challenged myself to write a thought, brief post or article every day for the entire year of 2017. Although there have been days I’ve come close to falling short of my commitment, I am grateful to say that I’ve found a way to transfer words to a screen that come from my heart and mind. I can honestly say that this experience is making a profound difference in my life. I learn something about myself, life, people and the world around me every day that I write. This writing challenge forces me to pay attention to all that goes on around me. As I pay attention, inspiration always comes.
If I am not careful however, I might find myself worshiping the word that I write. If I am not careful, the words I write become the most important thing. If I am not careful, the words take away from the experience itself. If I am not careful, desiring that people read these words consumes my thoughts. Pretty soon, the words become more important that the experience.
As I have shared previously, I grew up a PK and call myself a “Recovering Bapti-Costal.” I know a scant little about Christianity even though I’ve lived it most of my life. I’ve seen it expressed and lived in many ways. I’ve been inspired, awed, discouraged and deeply disappointed as a result.
I hesitate to say what I’m about to say but . . . where’s the fun in keeping quiet?
I believe that there is a disturbing trend related to the Bible – God’s Word. I suppose that it is likely the same with the followers of any Sacred Text from any other faith as well; however, I am most familiar with the Bible so that is where I will focus. The trend to which I refer is that of Worshiping the Word more than the Author. I see it all the time. People act and speak based on interpretations of the Word. They vehemently and passionately defend actions, perceptions and beliefs by “Standing on the Word!”
Here is the problem as I see it. When we worship the word rather than the Author we run the risk of:
- Missing the primary intent of a passage.
- Digging ourselves into a Theological hole that sends us into a pit of spiritual ignorance.
- Judging others based on faulty understanding of the meaning.
- Spinning bad behavior in a more positive light based on faulty interpretation of selected portions of the Word.
- Calling love, hate and hate, love.
- Wielding the word as a weapon to distract, destroy, dilute, defeat, demean and dismantle.
I could go on, but I won’t. The Word was never intended to be worshiped. After all, doesn’t the Word say something like, “You shall have no other Gods before me?” When we worship the Word of God more than we worship God, are we not guilty? The experience of worshiping God is one that, in its most pure form, is impossible to describe.
When we worship, truly worship God some of the things that will happen are:
- Biases will be challenged.
- Prejudices will be exposed.
- Hatred will be revealed.
- Dishonesty will be called to task.
- Exclusivity will fail.
- Love will abound for all.
- Grace will be dispensed freely.
- Compassion will color our behavior.
- Forgiveness will lead the way.
- Service will define our character.
I for one, prefer to Worship God who becomes increasingly mysterious every day I live. I prefer to Worship a God who will not be defined by our feeble attempts to lasso His name for our primitive purposes. I prefer to worship a God who invites me to live as He is – giving, loving, compassionate, inclusive, understanding, kind, expansive.
After 53 years of working to understand God and the Word, I find that the longer I go, the less I know . . . and I like it that way. It keeps my humble. It keeps me hungry. It keeps me healthy.
Mark E. Hundley