Today I read Deuteronomy in its entirety as part of “Read the Bible in 40 Days”.
In the past I have loved Deuteronomy. I love the promises that God makes. I love the retelling of the story of the Exodus and the Wilderness Journey. This is still true. I do still love those parts.
But I don’t like some of the other parts…and I’m learning that it is not only ok..but good…to admit that there is scripture that I just don’t understand or like. I don’t like the stuff that basically says that when a virgin is raped she has to marry her rapist. listen…don’t start. I know all the “God was taking care of her” and “she’d have had no other options” stuff as well as anyone. It doesn’t mean that I like it. It also doesn’t mean that it feels incongruous with God’s nature. I can’t help it. It is troubling. And I will no longer pretend that it isn’t.
How is cutting off the hand of a woman who grabs a man by the balls the same as using two different units of measure in a business deal? CUT OFF HER HAND??? Uh…how about cut off the penis of the guy who rapes the virgin?
Look…I know that my expressing this is troubling for some but I’m just telling it like it is for me at the moment.
I can say one thing for sure.
I love God. That hasn’t changed. But unlike many of my lovely religious friends, I find that as time goes on I understand less and less and that there is a lot more to it than I can wrap a nice neat little bow around.
This is the same way I feel about poverty, abortion, homosexuality, etc. There are REAL PEOPLE attached to these things. For me this is not about simple theology and some nice orthodoxy that you can explain away to make yourself feel comfortable with what the status quo is for evangelicals. Loving people is messy. PEOPLE ARE MESSY. Being in the mud with the So-Loved is hard and I won’t pretend that I can answer all the questions that they have since I can’t even get answers to the ones I have…and I’m a lover of the Word.
Reading the entire Bible in 40 days is a chance to read fast and almost like a novel. With the speed come ups and downs in my relating to the character of God. Today… Deuteronomy…provided both. Ups and Downs.
Bring it on Joshua…let’s see what you got! 😉
I have begun feeling the same way in recent years as I have re-read parts of the Bible which didn’t catch my attention in past readings. The amount of war and wholesale slaughter of those who were not Israelites simply because they were not Israelites and were in the way (“We have been promised your land; you are no longer allowed to be; now we kill you, your women, and your children.”) have proved difficult for me to reconcile in my mind. I even began keeping a journal of passages that bothered me. Not sure why. I guess so that if I ever had the chance to inquire about them with someone who knows more than me and has walked longer than me, I’d be ready. That reminds me, I need to keep up the practice…
I like your idea, Mark, of keeping a journal of those passages. may be borrowing it, and passing it along to the daughter.
you have me wondering about clauses, the arrangements that occur before law suits are pressed; primarily because they are some exceptional moments and then we have Jesus’ response to the Laws; this does not remove the sting of it by any means, but the thought occurs and again I worry over the perception of women, what is God about here, and the present cultures adoptions or lack of unease with these passages.
As for the journal idea, it was something I started many years ago. I was learning about the supernatural nature of God and the working of the Holy Spirit. So I wanted to see where those things were in the Bible (the denomination I was raised in certainly wasn’t teaching me about those aspects of God). Thus, as I read, I would make notes in the margins for every instance I came across of anything that was supernatural and everything that made mention of the Holy Spirit. This more recent journal is admittedly darker in nature because it makes notes of things I don’t like/don’t agree with/cause doubt in me. But I reject the notion that I am supposed to aim for an authentic relationship with God wherein I am not allowed to ask questions or weigh doubts. I certainly don’t have all the answers…
I’m so grateful for your questions and willingness to express doubt. I find it refreshing to not be alone in this space. I dearly love God…and yet I have questions. So MANY questions. Ones that can’t be answered with trite answers or hushed because of fear. All I know to do is be genuine and throw my questions out there to see where they land.
I appreciate you mark! 🙂