Sjolander Road Fellowship

Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the bible and what I need



I was involved in a recent discussion about the Bible, its origin, message, and purpose. As I have considered that further, I conclude that, first and foremost, it is not a set of instructions on how to appease or escape an angry God. I don't worry about God's anger; I worry about my own. I don't fear God: I fear life, in all its pain, confusion, messiness, and gut wrenching decisions.


In this process, I mentally noted what I need in my spiritual life and development, from the Bible or any other source. I need instructions in here and now living; I need standards to live by which allow me to deal with fear and anger. I need mental health help. What I don't need is more to fear and fret over. I don't need more things to get upset and angry about. I don't need additional conflict and confusion to deal with. I don't need help to identify and oppose new enemies; I need the wisdom and patience to make more, new friends.


I need a shield between me and all those who tell me to relish fear and anger as a virtue and sacred responsibility. I need a label that doesn't separate me from the vast majority of humanity and cause animosity and disunity. I need a message that delivers the peace of mind and joy which we all seek and miserably fail to find. I need the humility to cut my fellowman some slack, and maybe I can then cut myself some slack.


I need to know that all the important elements of human existence: life, love, and freedom carry unavoidable risks. No amount of risk management effort will ever yield risk free living, loving, and liberty. In fact, to give risk management and security the number one priority, basically eliminates real life, true love, and meaningful freedom. Cautious self preservation is essential to life, but paranoid demands for risk free life is itself deadly.


Maybe none of this answers the question about what I believe the Bible represents; but, by the process of elimination, I at least identify what a true source of divine wisdom would look like for me. In some measure and with proper reflection, the Bible can be one such source, but not if I take it blindly as unimpeachable truth. And not if it must be understood in lockstep conformity with ancient church fathers and accepted no matter what.


If the Bible is one source of answers, are there others? In my mind, yes. The book itself was generated independent of any prior written document, so the original writers got their message from another source. In addition the Bible, itself, speaks of a time when all would receive the required knowledge directly from God. So direct revelation is biblical.


To the extent the Bible meets my real needs I respect it. To the extent it doesn't, I ignore it and look elsewhere. Nothing else is remotely possible.