08.1 What’s the Bible All About… Alone

garden-of-eden-amazing-fresh-green-lanscape-nature-waterfall-wildOne of my favorite stories in the Bible is that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. There is more wrapped into these couple of chapters at the beginning of Genesis that lay out the true condition of the human heart in its purest sense than anything that I’ve ever encountered. I don’t know what your experience with this story is… whether you’ve been taught that it is a literal historical even… or a metaphorical image of early humanity. I simply want to unpack some of the lessons that I have gleaned from it over the years, and let the chips fall where they may. This isn’t a careful exegete of the text, simply an unfolding of the events that led us from a place of innocence to the often times messy existence we find ourselves in on a daily basis in our relationship with the world around us.

Somewhere deep within the fabric of who we are as people, is a sense that we were created for intimacy… for unguarded connection. We try connect this desire with the people, places and things that we interact with on a daily basis, often times with mixed results.

Before I go any further into this conversation, it is important that I pause first and define a couple things regarding intimacy since I believe it is one of those words that has been saturated with various meanings in our culture.

When I speak of ‘intimacy’, I am referring to the idea that all of us desire to ‘know’ and ‘be known’ in a pure and unguarded way. In the Hebrew language, the word ‘yada’ means, ‘to know’. It is the root word to over 600 other experiential words in Hebrew that cover the whole landscape of our emotions, thoughts, and activities.

Anything or anyone that we say, ‘we know’ can be described in some form of ‘yada’. I know… football. I know… pizza. I know how to bake bread… or build a work bench. There are some areas of life that we know very well… and others… not so much.

To say that you ‘know’ something or someone is basically saying… ‘I got this.’ Now, that may be true. Some people think they know something, when really they are just into the idea of it. Someone may say that they know you… when in reality… they don’t.

To be truly intimate with someone means that we can say, that we know them… and they know us… unguarded… for who we are. You would think that with over 7 billion people on the planet, our odds would be pretty good that we’d be able to land in a relationship with at least one of them that we can say that intimacy flourishes. For many, if not most of us, however… this is not the case. Truth is… we struggle. Intimacy doesn’t seem to come naturally. We are not able to open ourselves completely to another, and find ourselves frustrated when the person or people we are with seem to be very distant from us.

If we are hardwired for this kind of intimacy, why is it so difficult?

I believe the story of Adam and Eve contains some of the gems we need to uncover to understand the reason intimacy often seems, at best, just beyond our reach.

In the beginning… it was all good.

Except for one thing… Adam was alone.

(photo courtesy of http://storytechsystems.com/)

07 What’s the Bible All About… Creation

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Eugene Peterson as part of a leadership class that I was taking through Spring Arbor University.  Eugene has been my ‘reading’ pastor for over a decade now… and I have spent much time with him ‘by my side’ as I navigated the waters of Christian Spirituality.


In the interview… I asked Eugene about some of the biggest ailments that he sees in pastors in North America.  One of the points that he made was that pastors tend to spend most of their time copying other pastors… and this is a cancer of sorts to the creativity that God has planted in them.  We are not able to make able to change the world if we are not allowing the colors that God has equipped us with to come out.

(Listen to the interview… if you want… It is about 45 minutes long… doesn’t have anything to do with the overall content of this post)

 I knew what he meant… in that I sometimes find myself imitating others that I admire until the message I am really wanting to convey comes out in my own way.


I also knew what he meant… because I was serving under a pastor that I am sure wanted to be Kenneth Copeland.


What does that have to do with anything concerning Genesis 1?


I’ll tell you…


I interacted briefly with Rob Bell recently over on his Tumblr after he began a series of posts that inspired me to do these posts about the Bible.  I had asked Rob if it would be ok if I used some of his posts in a teaching series, and he was very encouraging in giving permission… giving that I give credit where credit is due.


I tell you that because this post on the creation poem found in Genesis 1 has been articulated by Rob so well… that there is no point in me trying to avoid plagiarism by putting his teachings into my own words.  I’ll just let him do the talking.


It’s just good stuff…


And a bit controversial…


There is a debate between creationists and evolutionists that… from where I sit… has gotten a bit boring.


How did the world come to be?

Does the Bible talk about a literal 6 days of creation?

Where did Cain and Abel find wives?


While evolutionists would seemingly like to dismiss the Biblical account all together… I have to admit that the creationist side of the debate doesn’t do much to give us anything worth holding onto… other than facts that they can use to keep the argument going.


I’m bored with it all…


As the curtain of time and space is pulled open in the opening pages of this sacred text… we are drawn into a mystery of a God… that saw what had been made… and said… it… was… good…


So… giving credit where credit is due… Mr. Rob Bell…

(and a couple of the slides from the version of the teaching I did once or twice…)

Literally Reading the Bible.018 Literally Reading the Bible.021