Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the book made me do it


The comedian, Flip Wilson, was famous for the line- “The Devil made me do it”. It was his tongue in cheek excuse for whatever comic mischief he wanted to justify.

In a much more serious vein, the church provides a ready explanation for whatever devilment they want to justify- “The Book made me do it”. Whether it is a reason to hate homosexuals; to terrorize little children with tales of bogeymen and fiery eternal torment; or to segregate, ostracize, and endlessly criticize, the church always finds a supportive passage in the sacred text. It never matters to them that in the past they have found biblical support for beliefs and practices they now denounce as wrong. They admit no possibility that past mistakes might point to current ones.

It has to be agonizing for many to feel compelled to do and embrace what they naturally abhor because of a book. That is especially true of a book with such a checkered history as the Bible. The Bible is unquestionably a profound book with a long history. That being said, a blind allegiance to a traditional interpretation of that book, especially when that interpretation has been propagated by men who declare themselves divinely appointed, borders on neurotic. The old adage, “If it hurts, stop doing it”, applies.

Finally I have to wonder about that great judgment scene described in Matthew 25, the one in which some are assigned to eternal punishment based on their lack of concern for the poor, the prisoners, the stranger (not like us), and the vulnerable. Will the excuse that “The book made me do it” really justify the practices of ostracism and criticism so religiously practiced by the church crowd, the very ones who so eagerly anticipate this cataclysmic judgment? Will the mean spiritedness of church demagoguery really pass muster before the God who so loved the world, when the only justification is that the book told me to be mean? At that point the only thing that could be added is the now overused expression: “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it”.