19 July, 2008

Bring A Bible To Church Day: A Clarification

Baxton, OH -- FBC Baxton would like to clarify the meaning of its recent online calendar entry, Bring A Bible To Church Day, set for this Sunday, July 20, 2008.

Confusion was obvious within the first hour of emailing the weekly newsletter last Monday, which included a link to the calendar. At least 5 people contacted Pastor Rokestern expressing concern about whether the church's internet was down or if the projector bulbs were on back order. Many volunteered their services to help, if needed, with any problems.

Throughout the week, more questions came in as members expressed an interest in the idea of bringing a Bible (even wishing to participate in the novel event) but were simply confused as to what qualified as a Bible. Was an electronic Bible acceptable? What about an Amazon Kindle?

Still others wondered if the email referred solely to a full length paper Bible in book form. One individual was curious if a book that is considered equivalent to the Bible is sufficient. What about the Prayer of Jabez or At Parbar Westward?

To reduce confusion, FBC Baxton released the following clarifying statement on Friday afternoon: “Whereas our ancestors sung Standing on the Promises, and whereas they believed God’s promises are contained in the Bible, and whereas we want to be High and Lifted Up: we therefore would like you to bring a Bible (or equivalent, e.g. Your Best Life Now) to church Sunday to stand upon during the worship service. Please bring as many Bibles as you can so you can reach a higher level of worship."


Quintin said...

Very funny!

Although it seems so possible which makes it sad...

Peter Kirk said...

If I stand on all my Bibles piled up I might just reach ten feet above ground. Not quite high enough to reach God, I think, unless he comes down to meet me. But if I am allowed a bit more flexibility on the building materials for my Tower of Babel I might do rather better.

fresnel said...

Obviously, another example of American culture (and why it's not attractive overseas). In Russia, one never sets one's Bible on the floor. To do so, placing the holiest physical object on Earth, on the dirty ground, is a disgrace. That includes indoor carpet or any other surface that feet walk on. To contemplate actually then standing on top of a Bible placed on the ground... --BLANCH--

Malachi_Abaddon said...

Brother Slawson, this was quite funny, but hit a little too close to home. I attended one church where I thought this is what was needed. But I didn't stay too long.

To fresnel: I agree that American culture tends to reflect in this post, but also remember that if anything is unclean, it is us, not the ground. The ground (and nature in its entirety) obey God perfectly, despite being cursed for our sins. It (the ground) is far cleaner than any sinner outside of Christ. That being said, I do agree that the ground is no place for a Bible. Our hearts are a much better storing place.

Jonathan said...

fresnel - I can appreciate your comments, and I understand where you're coming from. The Bible is to be respected and revered, but you must be careful why...

The Bible is holy, not in paper and leather, but in that it contains the revealed word of God.

As an object of reverence, be careful that you don't cross the boundary between 'Reasonable Respect and Reverence' (how'd you like those three R's?) and 'Creating an Icon'.

We don't worship The Bible, we worship the God of the Bible.

And just to clarify, this isn't an issue of 'corruptive American culture', but satire. There is a difference. Really. :)


Back to the article - I was preaching a few months ago (here in Bangalore, India), and one of the ladies spent the whole sermon looking at her cell phone. Turns out it was the e-bible on the phone.

Oh well, it's a new generation, eh?

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fresnel said...

To my brothers Malachi_Abaddon and Jonathan,

Thanks for your comments about placing a Bible on the floor. Being a fellow American, I see where you're coming from and I totally agree with you; now all you have to do is convince the vast majority of evangelical nationals in Russia.

I was born and raised in Los Angeles (not Moscow) so when I write about Russian evangelicals I do not embrace their view but rather offer Westerners a perspective from "outside" their culture; I can assure you that foreign missionaries will not convince nationals that they ought to lighten up about overly venerating the Bible (and would be well advised to not bother trying--there are lots of more important issues to discuss).

I'm sure we agree that while the Bible is indeed paper and ink, it is also a symbol and worthy of our respect. A common error a Westerner visiting Russia makes is to place his Bible under his chair, sometimes in full view of horrified congregations. Russians see such behavior (at worst) as callous disrespect for God or (at best) as uncultured and crass.

Add to that the fact that Russians are by and large raised in a culture that practices folk religion (good and bad luck/energy pervades all physical objects, words, gestures, colors, numbers, etc etc) and you're touching on something deeply believed in (even by mature Christians) who haven't thought through the reality that the Bible is physically similar to any other book. There will still be a strong tug on the conscience of nationals to reverence the Bible (by believers as an act of worship and by pagans as a matter of superstition).

Okay okay. We're in a light-hearted website that celebrates satire. My initial comment about the Bible and flooring in Russia was serious (in that it is true) but light-hearted in that I know perfectly well we're talking about an American church, not one overseas. My point was simply that within our immediate context we can appear one way (hugely serious about ourselves while also looking comical) and when viewed from afar, seen through an entirely different set of lenses. In other words, humor is culturally grounded. I just wanted you to experience the humor of the situation both provincially (American culture) and internationally (i.e. in this case, missing the humor completely).

Does any of that make sense? :)

Jonathan said...


Of course it makes sense. Thanks for the clarification.

I'm currently a missionary in Bangalore, India, so I understand your point that humor is culturally grounded. (It sure is a bummer when your best jokes don't work, or worse, offend!).

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