I love the Bible. I love it for its poetry. And I love it for its song. I love it for its wisdom. And I love it for its hope. I love the way it gives comfort, like a mother or a father reaching out to hold an anxious child’s hand.
I love the way it encourages and believes in me when I doubt myself the most.
I love the stories, even the ones of mothers weeping for babies lost, and babies found. And the stories of human frailties and outright awfulness. The adultery. The abandonment. The acknowledgement.
The forgiveness and the redemption of all things gone wrong.
It’s all right there, between tissue-thin pages of my Mama’s marked-up Bible. Along with a record of all the births of her 13 grandchildren.
Good kids all of them.
Each one devoted to the God who loved their grandmother, who loves them.
I wish you could know my nieces and nephews and their cousins, my children. How proud I am of each one, for the way they live out the dramas of their own life in light of the Word of God. Not perfect, mind you, not at all. But always striving, always caring, always longing to live lives that make their mamas and daddies proud. Their grandmamas and grandpapas, too.
They would never use their Bible as a means to wound another.
So I winced when I read the story of the students in Pennsylvania. Perhaps you read it as well?
They staged an Anti-Gay protest at McGuffey High School. They wore flannel shirts so they’d look the same, identifying not with Christ, but with each other’s bigoted ways as they went about the school pinning Bible verses to the lockers of openly gay students.
I don’t know what I would do if one of my children had participated in such an event. I would have been so ashamed of them, of myself. Ashamed that I had not raised my children to be a kinder, gentler people.
The school administration is investigating the allegations of harassment.
And I sit here wondering, how have we gone so wrong? Raising up kids to think that harassing and intimidating another human being is what God would have them do?
That somehow they have come to claim Scripture as their weapon of choice.
A weapon they wield to intimidate and do harm to others.
Rather than stories designed to teach us to be a better people, kinder, gentler, more forgiving of ourselves and others.
Such a thing of great beauty, the Word of God is.
Infused with a power
That can be used for good
or for evil.
The choice, it’s ours.