Drive-thru Readings

We love quick interpretations and applications for our life when we read the Bible. The slow process of reading and surveying the whole book, seeking to learn about the ancient context, putting the text we are reading in light of the whole biblical narrative, and reading everything in light of and through the context of Jesus’ life… well all that just seems to take too long. We want a microwaved instant reading. We want to get our truth and relevance for our problem quick and fast. We don’t want to commit to a lifestyle of study and meditation. We want to pull up make our order, and get our product and drive off. How might our instant and immediate driven culture affect how we read the Bible? Maybe John Legend is right, “maybe we should take it slow”? Freestyle with me…

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5 comments

  1. tim · April 28, 2009

    Drew,

    A couple of weeks ago, I was diagnosed by the doc to avoid all fast food.
    Since I can’t not have fast food, I have been dreaming lately to be able to say these words. “Can I get a number 1, could you make that a large with sweet tea please!” Today, I read this blog that has a wonderful illustration that hit my soul.

    Check out my reflections on how my wife and I consume our earthly food. (sometimes)

    My wife and I love to talk about food.
    Take out the newspaper
    Scan for the grocery store sales
    Cut the coupons
    Decide on the day we go grocery shopping
    Go to the grocery store.
    Bring our own bags to do our part to help the environment.
    Go aisle by aisle to search all the different variety of foods we want.
    Read the labels to see what is in the foods.
    Go to the cashier and pay the money.
    Double check the receipt.
    Take the food home and put it away.
    Talk about what we are going to have.
    Take out the food.
    Prepare the food
    Cook the food.
    Set the table
    Then finally we EAT!!!!

    I wrote that because it humbled me. When reading THE Word, our spiritual food, I don’t even put 1/100 of the effort that I put into one meal.
    I want to read THE Word the same way I want to eat that fast food. Just tell them what you want, pay the money and you got what you need. (Unless, there was no fork or napkins in the bag.)

    When reading THE word, we want to immerse our selves in it just like when we go to the store and cook our own food. It tells us about hope, love, joy and inheritance that could be found in Jesus. It also gives a kingdom frame of mind while we live here on earth. These truths need to be learned with fellow believers around the dinner table eating a slow cooked meal and be learned reading THE Word. These truths are learned by studying THE entire Word. Aren’t we blessed in this country to have so many resources to help us understand the Word. I don’t think I take advantage of this awesome blessing we have here in America.

    This blog encouraged me to read THE Word day by day in a whole new way.
    It’s our daily organic grassroots freestyle bread and I’m loving it.

    But the great thing about our God, even when we there are times we need to go through the drive thru, He hooks us up His way.

    Glory to God in the Highest!

    tim

  2. freestyle · April 29, 2009

    Praise God…
    You got the point exactly… and your list of things to do before you can eat a cooked meal only further illustrate the slow and full process that we should take when studying the word. I hope people understand that when I talk about “freestyle theology”, it is not about merely quick theology. But rather, freestyle theology is all about thorough preparation and heavy study and meditation. And you do all that, so when you actually are in situations and contexts where the truths of the gospel need to be applied, you can then freestyle from the depths of all that study, rather than flipping your bible open and pointing to any random verse, and thinking this enough to get you by. Thanks for sharing, I am hoping this was beneficial to others as well.

    Peace and Grace
    drew

  3. JMcD · May 28, 2009

    Good stuff, Drew and Tim. I fear many American Christians have been heavily influenced by our culture…which worships fast and efficient solutions to even the most basic of human necessities like food AND spirituality. One of my colleagues once said, “It isn’t important how many books you have read. What’s important is how many books you have re-read.” This is especially true of scripture. Even after decades of reading and re-reading the Gospels of Mark and John I am amazed at what I see when I “re-read” them again for the first time. For me, I can’t understand how people fail to see God at work in fresh and new ways in the “old book” when we are determined to slow down and look carefully and prayerfully. But that’s just me.

  4. Freestyle · May 29, 2009

    The other day, I had a good discussion with fellow believers. We talked around the discussion of 2nd readings. Especially the Old Testament. This isn’t exactly what you are saying Jay (although I agree with what you said as well). But we talked about the need to read through the ancient texts a first time and then again a second time. The second time so that the significant events and moments of Jesus’ life can fill in and bring to life those texts in fresh ways. If Romans 10:4, Hebrews 10:1, and other texts like it are correct… then life of Jesus is forshadowed in the Old Testament, and much more the Old Testament is fulfilled in Jesus. Sometimes we don’t take the slow and concentrated time to “unveil” the law of Moses, with a deeper spiritual insight revealed in Christ Jesus. This is not to say we ought to skip the context and clear implications the passage itself is teaching… but rather take those biblical principles learned and ask how this points forward to Jesus Christ through his incarnation, life and teachings, death, resurrection, and current reign over all things. That second more thought provoking and Christ centered reading is often lacking in our lives, and my conviction is that it is there (in Christ) that we find transformation.

  5. Laulita Horton · May 19, 2010

    This was a brilliant description of why we don’t read and adequately study the Bible. Most things in our society is fast and quick. Most of us have yet to break or divide up our daily schedule to add what we must give to our Holy Father.

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