Old Fashioned Christian
Radios, Cardboard SignsI hope my reader doesn't mind too much another long rambling note.
After I'd pointed out earlier that's it's contradictory to say a minister has liberty to decide what Bible to use--as the Bible is that which by historical consensus we all must abide by--the preacher said that a lot of people at his church use the NIV, and he thinks it best to preach from it. Such a general statement would be hard to refute without showing disrespect, so I decided to look at my own decision processes when I participated in a popular activity--the Eugene Celebration.
Now, you would think, looking at the schedules of the bus and the parade, that the regular bus route would be the most direct one to the parade, as the times and routes coincided in places, but oh, no. The bus driver took a long detour around that parade; I mean, he went way out of his way to avoid the congestion. Why is that? I don't know. There was no sign posted for a detour. Sometimes a driver avoids an overly populated route, schedule notwithstanding. Reminds me of something Jesus said about the straight-and-narrow vs. the wide-and broad.
When he got to the point most distant from the parade, as he was about to make his turn and come around from the other direction, I spotted a yard sale. Now, there are lots of yard sales with nothing of any interest to me, but I had wanted to look for bargains, so I rang the bell and got off. Boy, was I glad I did.
I needed a cheap portable short wave receiver to track down interference sources in the neighborhood, and I got an old beat up radio there for $2. Another $2 got me a fancy data switch for my old computer. And I found for 25¢ an exact replacement fan for one on its last leg in my equipment. I missed the parade, but I walked away with a bag full of treasures.
But isn't that like reading the Bible? You have to make time for it, missing the parade of all the activities in the world you could have been doing, but you walk away with some treasure which is better, even if it's just an old beat up version.
I saw a lot of people coming from the parade. And there are a lot of people who don't read the Bible. Now, you would think that I would hold on tight to my bag of treasures, but I wanted to walk around, the bag was heavy, and my foot was sore. So I left it at a vendor's table I knew, to keep it for me until I returned. It seems to me that after finding this treasure in the Bible, we think it better to share it with others than to just keep it to ourselves.
I think I discovered three things I have in common with the members of my church. We have all opted for the straight and narrow way as opposed to the broad popular one. We all read the Bible, even though I read an older version than many. And we are all inclined to share with others what we have read.
After lunch, I walked around and discovered some differences too. The tango workshop that I especially wanted to attend didn't start until 3:00 so I wandered around the displays. I got to my chiropractor's table and told him that my foot he'd worked on was doing fine, but I hurt my other one. It was taking a long time to heal, but it was healing, although I had to admit that going folk dancing the last Tuesday didn't do it any good. He said that my kind of injury takes six to eight weeks minimum to heal. I replied that going to the tango workshop this afternoon probably wouldn't help. He said that would only aggravate it. I figured that while I love to dance, I also like to be able to walk, so I changed my plans for that afternoon.
Isn't that weird? I mean, up until this conversation, I had figured my best option was such and such workshop, but after that chat I nixed it. What we think is our best course of action can change when we receive information from a specialized source, like from a doctor. That's my best take on how come the preacher thinks it best to preach from the NIV, but I wouldn't. Maybe I just encountered more on the subject than the preacher did. On the other hand, the preacher hasn't claimed to know everything and he hasn't minded me going by just the KJV. If the preacher hasn't come across the same information yet, maybe it's not my place to enlighten him, other than telling him how I feel, and the elders don't seem to have gotten all enthused about going back to just the KJV either. There are any number of people I am very fond of that I think the courses they've chosen are not the best, but after expressing my opinion, I just let them do what they want.
After changing my mind about the workshop, I wandered out past the periphery of the celebration until I came to the library and acquired a new appreciation for public internet access--available an hour at a time after a waiting line. I sat down next to this girl by the building whose boyfriend was tied up inside on-line, but that doesn't interest her. Fine, I kept her company.
I look on the bright side of some situations. Sure, there are many people in the world who are not into Jesus and the Bible and all that, but from the standpoint of a bachelor who is somewhat into playing the field, that gives me a lot women to get to know and perhaps date, more than if I were strictly limited to what few Christian single girls of the appropriate age I know. And some of these girlfriends, perhaps partly through my influence, have accepted Christ.
Over the years, this has led to arguments, some of them quite intense, with fellow Christians of the persuasion that a Christian is permitted to marry only another Christian. Since it's not good form to date someone from a class from which one would never marry--what do they do if they fall in love?--that affects whom I may date. Their erroneous view stems mainly from a wresting of some of the difficult [?] sayings of Paul. The NIV has solved the need to wrest his sayings by wresting them for us, and then paraphrasing plainly into their interpretation. Therefore I have found the NIV (error) used against me on the authority of the honor given to it. Why should I honor a book when its honor gets used against me? So I don't.
Anyway, this girl and I made a cardboard sign advertising her need for a ride to the Gorge in Washington to see a concert. We decided it best to make it on lowly cardboard to contrast with the visual overload of the celebration. She would walk around carrying her cardboard sign which looked different from the fancy displays.
Similarly I believe the plain Bible dialect of the KJV helps to distinguish directions to heaven from the world's overload.
She debated on using the word Gorge because not everybody would understand its significance, but then decided in favor because anyone going there would understand its meaning. The KJV dialect may not be the one used on the streets, but any English speaker going to heaven will have been prepared to get it.
After her boyfriend got done, I bade them good day, and headed home, stopping off first at the university Science Library--no line--to check my e-mail. As I was leaving the library, the librarian asked for my aid. (Now, there's a switch.) He wanted to know how to get the football game on the internet.
I told him that if the radio station that was broadcasting the game had streaming audio, he just had to find their website. He didn't know what station was carrying the game. I suggested he look in a phone book, under K, go down the list of call letters, and check their websites one by one. He started looking for a phone book.
I said there was a quicker way, and asked if he had an electrical outlet. I pulled my $2 radio out of the bag and he plugged it in. We found the game right away at the bottom of the dial on KUGN. But either he couldn't find the station's website, or they didn't have one, or they weren't broadcasting the game on it. So I just made myself comfortable and we listened to the game on my radio.
There was only one other patron in the library, everybody else being either at the game or at the celebration, and he came over to listen to the radio as he was trying to find the game on the internet, and he couldn't find it either. The other (female) librarian wasn't interested in the game but knew enough to let us boys be, even though I am sure there are rules against playing one's ghetto blaster in the library. Oregon won; then I went home.
That's sorta like the Bible. All those many thousands of dollars worth of computers weren't doing him any good, so we had to use my beat-up old $2 radio with not the best audio. I think even the preacher found something similar in a sermon or two for which all those fancy new translations didn't match the old fashioned ones which had the doctrine in it that the new ones left out.
Anyway, I do not think that we are better off being preached to out of the new translations, especially the NIV, but aside from stating my objection, I don't think it's my place to set the preacher straight. As long as the preacher allows me to go by the KJV and doesn't place unreasonable restrictions on whom I may date, I just have to chalk up the new Bible version as one of the imperfections I have to put up with, every church having some.
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Copyright © 2003, Earl S. Gosnell III
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.
Permission is hereby granted to use this paper--with credit given, of course--in intellectually honest non-profit educational material.
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