The Bible is a book that I became acquainted with at an early age but never really came to "know" until well into adulthood.
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It can be read on many levels (as literature, as inspiration) and can leave you with as many questions as answers. It's a book of mystery, of history, of poetry and prose. It's a book that can create harmony or discord among families, friends and colleagues. It can be tossed aside for awhile and still have an overall effect on one's behavior and choices.
The Bible, in its various versions, can be interpreted, reinterpreted and misinterpreted. Read it cover-to-cover and you'll probably be bored (who begat whom and why do I care?). But one of the beauties of the Bible is that it has so many levels to it. It's as though it was designed to grow with people as they grow in their faith.
When I was a child, I was intrigued by some of the stories like Noah's Ark and the Christmas story. But I think they had about as much impact on me as Tom Sawyer. As an adolescent, I found myself suffering through church, watching the clock to see how long it would be before I could get out my misery. As an adult, I hit rough patches and returned to the Bible for inspiration. It provided that and much, much more. It provided a blueprint for behavior that would ultimately lead to happiness and joy.
The missing ingredient in my younger years was faith.
Some find the Bible as dogmatic, limiting, rigid and (in the last 10 years) "judgmental" and "politically incorrect." I see it as a journey toward freedom. The Ten Commandments aren't there to kill our fun. They are there to protect us from our self-centered lower selves and to show us a better way to live. They protect us from natural (and man-made) consequences.
To those who believe in "relativism," I challenge you to a soccer match or any other organized sport. I'll bring my set of rules and you bring yours. Who do you suppose will win? Nobody, because we can't even define what the game is, so how can we play it? Put down some rules - some absolutes - and then let the games begin!
God bless you and have a Merry Christmas!
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