Scared of the Bible

"Normally we read the psalm in its entirety...There is no explanation of the psalm, it is simply read. In some ways this is an interaction wiht the poetry of our faith. As with many of our interactions with the Bible we are careful to not overlay too much of our interpretation or explanation on the text. The experience of having the psalm wash over us is plenty powerful; it doesn't really need our help."

That was taken from Reimagining Spiritual Formation by Doug Pagitt.

I read the book Born Fundamentalist, Born Again Catholic four years ago. I was completely amazed by a section within it. Amazed enough that I remembered it four years later when reading the above quote from Doug Pagitt. I've included the whole section here. I debated on clipping out just a few lines, but didn't think that did it justice. If you just want to read my thoughts, then hop on down to the bottom. However, without David Currie's story my thoughts have a little less meaning.

"One of the aspects of Catholic worship that surprised me initially was the central role of the Bible in the worship service. Every Catholic church is on a three-year cycle of Scripture reading. A Catholic who attend Mass faithfully will hear almost all of God's word over a period of three years (with the exception of some genealogies, etc.). That is a schedule most Evangelical churches would do well to emulate."

"I tried to come up with some objective method of measuring the feelings of different churches for the Bible and what it says. I decided to time the percentage of Sunday morning worship spent in Scripture reading in three different types of churches. It seems plausible that the amount of time spent in the Bible would indicate regard for what it said. If a church spent no time in Scripture at all, it would be hard-pressed to demonsrate that it cared about what the Bible taught. I timed the services when the regular pastor was present, avoiding any special holidays that might distort the results. I did not count the time spent in talking about the Bible, just the time spent actually reading, singing, or reciting the inspired word itself."

"I think Evangelicals will find the results surprising. I chose two large churches, one Evangelical and one fundamentalist, both with an average Sunday attendance reaching well into the thousands. The Evangelical church, in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, spent less than 6 percent of its Sunday service in Scripture. The fundamentalist church, in northwest Indiana, which considers itself to be biblically based, spent 2 percent of its morning in Scripture."

"My own Catholic church would be very similar to any Catholic church in this country, because the missal is standardized. When I travel I can attend any parish church and know right where we are reading. Catholics at Mass spend more than 26 percent of the time in Scripture. Although exact percentages will vary from week to week, time in the Bible during Mass approximately quadruples the amount of time spent in the Bible during morning worship in the other two churches."

I think the church I attend would fall into the same category as the 2% church. The only time that Scripture is read is briefly in a sermon before a preacher tells us what that small section really means. It baffles me that we don't read more of the Scripture and just let its words stand on their own. It is almost as if we are afraid of what people might start believing if the Scripture isn't filtered through the protectors of theology in our churches. We take the verses that call us to a radical discipleship and sanitize them so that we are able to follow them in our culture without being looked down upon. We enshrine Scripture with our own words, so that we can be certain that Scripture will never shake our manufactured faith. It's time to let Scripture stand up and become a central element in our gatherings and not just a necessary springboard to say what we want to say. If we do that, we would see an increase in radical discipleship among us.


Thanks for your prayers if you prayed for my meeting yesterday. It went as good as can be expected. It mainly centered around me being given more responsibility in my father's business. The problem was that the responsiblities were being taken from other people as we reorganize the structure of Clem's Collectibles. I think it is good for all of us involved, and I think they saw that too.

Watch out for the potholes.

Watch out for the potholes.