“You hypocrites!” says Christ in Calvin Seerveld’s paraphrase of Matthew 23:24, “You strain gnats out of your wine but swallow the American, suburban way of life whole, like a camel.” Jesus, of course, directed his stinging dart at the Pharisees, but Seerveld applies his to suburban Americans, and probably more specifically, suburban American Christians.
In her new book, Inspired, popular blogger Rachel Held Evans engagingly wrestles in reconciling the difficult passages in the Old Testament with the overarching message of the Bible.
As people of God, in our resting and in our working, in our solitude and in our communion, in our being and in our doing, we are a river of life. Our acts of justice and righteousness are water in a dry and thirsty land.
One way to go about shaking ourselves from the interpretive grooves (ruts!) formed by our Western assumptions is to encounter a reading of a well-known text that seems shocking at first, until the “new” reading focuses our eyes upon the biblical words themselves.
There is a lot to know about the Bible, and they are good things to know. But the Holy Spirit brings God’s word and God’s world to life in ways that can’t be known only through objective trivia.
Lectio divina takes us beyond ourselves, away from a self-centered faith and into an other-centered way of living the Christ-like transformation taking shape in us. The purposeful stages of lectio divina develop a Spirit-led mindfulness which seeps into every moment of our day, and somehow gives us an awareness of the Divine in every facet of life.