Dark passages

It’s fairly easy (and fairly common, too) to be rather selective when we read the Bible. Many Christians (and Oprah, who may or may not be a Christian–it’s hard to tell) approach the Bible as this bubbly little book of encouragement, an enclave of enthusiasm they can run to when the going gets rough. They’ll turn to passages that say, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” or, “Ask, and it shall be given unto you,” and know that everything will be alright. They’ll overlay these passages over their Thomas Kinkade pictures to help brighten up the day.

This is all fine, I suppose, except that all too often these same people miss the darker, more disturbing parts of Scripture. Yes, God saved Noah and some others on the ark, along with a host of animals. It’s pretty unlikely, however, it was as whimsical as the header image would suggest. It’s doubtful that life on the ark was very pleasant, never mind that fact that, while eight survived on the floating zoo, everyone else drowned. But isn’t that the power of the Bible, amidst tremendous darkness the grace and mercy of the Lord shines through. Much of the beauty of the world arises out of contrast.

Still, these passages are often hard for us to understand. They seem to reveal aspects of our creator that we’re really not that comfortable thinking about. They certainly display the propensity that we humans have for doing evil things, things we don’t talk about in polite company.However, if we really believe that “all Scripture…is profitable,” then we’re not going to avoid these troublesome sections. We’re going to dive into them, searching for the pearl in the pig sty (as the old story goes).

This week we continue our dark passage through various dark themes for the month of October, but diving into the dark passages of Scripture. These are the passages that disturb us, that confound us. They reveal to us the pain the evil that is in the world, and help us better understand the light.

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