Saturday, June 30, 2012

I just don't get it.

Guys, some days I just do not my culture.

Like today.

Today I went to go buy a new Bible. I've got a pretty fantastic study Bible -- I've had it since freshman year of high school; it's leather-bonded, and been rebound twice and, let's face it...I've put it through the wringer.
It's beat up and part of Psalms is falling out (again) and it's jam-packed full of ticket stubs from conferences and book marks from church camps and pages from bulletins; and it is no longer a practical thing to carry on mission trips or to church camp. I mean, what would I do if I lost my bookmark with all of my campers signatures from last year's church camp, or my Hot Hearts '98 schedule or my ticket stub from my last Jeremy Camp concert? Or Psalms, for that matter?

So I ventured down to my local Christian bookstore to find a travel Bible. Something compact, lightweight, and durable...Something I wouldn't mind getting muddy, and something that wouldn't knock somebody out if I threw it and it hit them in the face. (Study bibles are thick. In case you didn't know) I figured it'd be an easy trip. In and out, ten minutes, tops.

Boy was I wrong.

I don't know about your's, but my local Christian bookstore has a HUGE selection of Bibles. From NIV to ASV to NEW NIV to NRSV to KJV to NKJV to ESPN. (I might have made the last one up.)
So I made my way over to the NIV section. It's a pretty safe bet that most protestant camps and trips use NIV, and it's a good version to use with kids.

And there I was bombarded. Even within this one section there were at least 15 different variations of Bibles -- study bibles and thinline bibles and compact thinline bibles and bibles for the working mother and teenage bibles and EXTREME!!!!! teenage bibles and bibles for boys and bibles for girls and "the perfect edition gift bible" and the list goes on. And within those sections? You can get a "bug edition" girls bible and a superstar girls bible and I found not one, not two, but THREE variants of camouflage bible covers.

Like it matters or something.
Like you should judge a book by its cover.

I mean, people. It's the word of God. Can't it just speak for itself?

And that's not even the frustrating part. I mean, I guess I can get behind "designer" Bibles...and I totally get devotionals aimed at working moms, or teenagers...we're all at different places in our lives and different passages can speak to different people.

The fact that I can buy a "flora and fauna" bible that is either black and pink flower or marhna blue
and floral Italian duo tone is weird. But the fact that they cost $37?
That's outrageous.
That's upsetting.

That's just wrong.

The least expensive Bible I could find to purchase was $8. Not a problem. I mean, I think someone seeking to find a Bible should be able to find one for less than that, but I understand that you have to cover your costs.

The next least expensive? $28.
And it just got worse from there. Bibles are now designer, expensive, and tailor made so you don't have to worry about being "unfashionable" with the word of God.

And if they're not? The one $8 bible you can purchase is not well made. The binding is shoddy and the pages aren't well separated, and it will fall apart with regular use rather quickly.

If we're supposed to be spreading God's love and His word...shouldn't it be easily accessible to all economic brackets? Shouldn't it be of good quality? And should we really care if it's pinstriped or zebra print or decorated with barbed wire?

Shouldn't the word of God just speak for itself? Or do we have to market it to make people want what they so desperately need?

And isn't everyone entitled to a Bible that won't fall apart? How do you reach out to your community if your community can't afford to drop twenty bucks on something that will last them a decent amount of time?

Some days, I just don't get my culture. And some days, I'm glad of it.

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Comforting Thought

God's love.
Completely undeserved. 

And is kind of like how I feel about my roommate's cat.

No, really.

I love this stupid thing. Her name is Gabby. Gabby has done nothing to deserve my affection. In fact, quite frequently, the cat goes out of her way to be aggravating. She claws at the carpet, meows loudly and for no good reason, and regularly gallops up and down the hallway as though she's spent the past five minutes rolling around in catnip or cocaine. Often, she forgets I exist and completely ignores me, no matter how I call to her.

And then other days, she loves me. She lets me pet her and play with her, and show her how glad I am that we're sharing the same living space. She'll rub her head up against me and twist about between my legs, and lets me know that she's glad I'm here, too.

How often do we treat God like that? How often do we simply acknowledge his presence, and then turn our tails and walk away if we don't need anything at the moment? We mistreat his earth and his people.  And then, when we feel like it, we let him know that we love him. We give our praise and our amens, and sometimes even do things for him in the form of mission and outreach. Sometimes we even go out of our way to say thank you.

I am exactly like the stupid cat. No matter what she does, or how much furniture she shreds or how much fur she sheds, I will always pet the cat if she asks.

And Gods loves us no matter what the circumstance. Whether we treat him like he's the only thing in our universe or whether we go out and behave in a manner completely unbecoming to a child of God; he still loves us.

He's glad we're in the same living space. 

And that's a comforting thought.