A few years ago, I acquired a red cookbook for my mother. This book was something special – it wasn’t made to cater to health concerns, food allergies, or any trendy diets – it was made to honor good old fashioned American cuisine, meaning if it was unhealthy or if your grandmother cooked it – there was a recipe for it somewhere in this cookbook. Not long afterwards, we discovered our food allergies and haven’t really used the red cookbook all that often since then, but I’d like to share one with you now:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
- Stir dough and add nuts and chocolate chips
- 1 cup butter
- bake for 30 minutes
- 1 cup coconut, shaved
- let cool
- Stir flour and eggs together
- bake for 45 minutes, baste, bake for 15 minutes
You might be guessing by now that these are not serious instructions – but as a matter of fact, they are. They’re taken from pages 32, 45, 67, 68, 71, and 73, each of them from a different recipe. I can see why you might be confused. Let’s try a different book:
- Jude 1:21 “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”
- Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
- Isaiah 55:6 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
I’m getting a little concerned about Christianity – mostly because we’re not making very much sense these days. Some people I know are thoroughly grounded in Scripture so much so they can pull out five or six verses from five or six different books of the Bible to support one theological position. They’ll take one verse over here talking about one thing, and apply it to situation over there talking about something very different. In the same way taking parts of a recipe from different pages of the cookbook is a recipe for disaster, so is borrowing verses from different parts of the Bible to say one unified thought.
Some of the Bible is metaphor, some of the Bible is sarcasm, some of the Bible is wisdom, some of the Bible is stories told by Jesus, Some of the Bible is long, boring lists of people, or rulers who probably didn’t do a good job, or things, some of the Bible is history, some of the Bible is poetry and song – and sure the Bible clearly says a lot of things, but it’s not always clear what everything in it means.
Few things I dread more than making a statement of faith / creed / beliefs, because I know that I can’t say ‘I believe in this because of verse A, G, and U’ or ‘I believe in that because of verse B, H, and T’ without considering the story / context surrounding each and every one of the verses. I’ve also been asking myself – ‘is it okay to only believe in Jesus? I’m not sure I care about or believe in young earth creationism, pre-millenialism, cessasionalism, etc.’ The way I see it – only one thing is needed and that is more than enough for me.