My friend Dani has recently returned from 5 months in Nepal. One part of her reflections especially stood out to me:
What’s hard is watching the Bible go from being a staple to a snack. I’ve come from a place where due to language barriers, the main thing that bound me together with other Christians was the Bible. This encouraged me to read it and desire it more and more. I’ve come from a place where Christians can’t seem to get enough of the Bible, to a place where it’s hardly even read. Sorry Australia. It’s not just me being a crazy person, either… I have statistics! Apparently only 1 in 5 Aussie Christians read their Bible daily. That makes me sad.
I have written about this before. The Christian church should be more than a social club. If the God of the universe has chosen to give us written record of has dealings with humankind, surely it’s worth devoting some of our time to reading it. And if, as the apostle Paul writes, God’s words are alive and powerful, then it’s worth not just reading the Bible, but soaking ourselves in it, and allowing it to transform the way we think, the way we treat others, and every other part of how we live.
In recent times I’ve been a part of a group of Christians learning to take passages from the Bible and turn them into good stories (without sacrificing accuracy). I’ve seen God do some amazing things through this process. Here are two reasons why I think this is worthwhile:
- It excites Christians about the Bible. People connect deeply with stories, and when Christians connect with Bible stories, it makes them want to go back and read the original, and maybe even tell the story to others, or craft another Bible story.
- It lets Christians talk about what they believe. Our culture says “Thou shalt not tell anyone what to believe”, and many Christians are afraid that if they talk about what they believe in front of people with different views, they’ll be seen as a militant evangelist. But stories are not confrontational. When you tell someone a Bible story, you can tell them what you believe without telling them what to believe. You can genuinely share who you are and what you hold important without fear of making others feel threatened.
Perhaps sharing Bible stories with one another will be part of the solution to the crisis of Christians who don’t connect with God’s word.