This book is for those who want to be true to the spirit of the Christ and want to use the Bible as a guide to their spiritual growth rather than as a literal instruction manual for evaluating and judging external behavior - especially the behaviour of others. Spiritually is always an inside job and is always gentle, kind, understanding and accepting - of others and of self.
It is just as unbalanced for a metaphysician, humanist or agnostic to believe he Bible is simple metaphorical - as it is for a Christian to believe each word must be interpreted literally. Clear spiritual thinking requires an understanding of what the Bible is - and isn't.
While O'Dell performs a scholar work explaining the facts, politics and beliefs that forged the evolution of thee Bible, his experiential faith in the sacredness of the presence of the Holy Spirit imbues this book with authentic humanness. Readers will understand that being a Christian requires more than attaching oneself to a congregation and believing the Bible literally.
The fruit of this book is the presentation of Biblical facts, which are sewn together in the recognition that the Kingdom of God is available right now for you: Having experiences where others see God in you; Gifting your life with experiences of seeing God in all others; and Experiencing Spirit's daily guidance as you live your life.
"This highly readable book takes a conversational tone when, for instance, in Chapter 6 (The Time of Jesus), the author gently transitions us from the Old to the New Testament. The tenor focuses on the impact of Roman rule and the reactions to it and in the populace. Instead of dogmatic repetition of the chapter and verse based solely on moral directives from 'above,'" [read more]
We don’t need to have children to raise these kinds of questions. We ask that kind of question all by ourselves. We hear someone quote Billy Graham or Pat Robertson (or any other evangelist) about demons, angels, Original Sin, or the condemnation of a movie we’re looking forward to seeing, and we catch ourselves thinking: “Am I supposed to really believe that?”
We listen to a newscast of some heated legislative debate dealing with cloning, an abortion clinic bombing, the right-to-die movement, “evil” empires, a hate crime, stem cell research, prayer in school, or some gay/lesbian issue. Many of the arguments are bolstered by very Scripture-laden phrases, and we catch ourselves thinking: “Does the Bible really say that?”
Those of us who are discovering our spirituality in a Twelve- Step Program or in New Thought religion are not in a mainstream, Bible-based religion. Those of us who are mainstream churchgoers usually are not involved in a Bible-quoting, Jesus-is-my-very-best- friend denomination. However, we live in a society that appeals very heavily to Bible-based religion for all sorts of support.
As an example, I would imagine in the Bible Belt it’s easier for a good, solid Southern Baptist to get elected to the local school board than it is for a member of a Unitarian congregation. Will that election affect the materials used in your schools, the priorities established within the budget, the openness of the district to hire an excellent teacher who may be Hindu or may be gay? Do those school board decisions affect your community? You bet they do!
State and national politicians campaign on Bible-based moral slogans. They make promises, backing them with Biblical quotes, to gain the support of very conservative, “Bible believing” groups or coalitions sometimes referred to as the Religious Right or the Christian Coalition. Many of these promises or campaign platforms can be quite divisive and polarizing. Can this affect you? Can this sway you (either positively or negatively) for a candidate or issue? You bet it can!
#1 It's time you learned the real story of the Bible for yourself.
#2 Many Protestant fundamentalists and evangelicals believe the Bible was almost literally "faxed" from God, and they are not shy about saying so. What is it you believe about the Bible? This book will help answer that question.
#3 There are times when issues about gay people or Jesus or miracles or abortion comes up. You need to be able to offer yourself (and your children) a real answer - your answer.
Perhaps you are one of the millions of “mainstream” churchgoing Christians who does not consider yourself a Fundamental Evangelical. You do not believe that the Bible contains the exact, almost dictated, words of God. You support a congregation with your time and money.
You attend Sunday school as well as Sunday morning worship. Your children attend with you, go to some of the youth group activities, and attend a summer church camp or vacation Bible school.
You understand enough to believe that the first eleven chapters of Genesis consist of local (to the Genesis writer) myths, fables, and allegories.
At a party, if someone begins to extol the virtues of some political movement or condemn certain societal actions and uses quotations from Scripture to support their argument, you will generally smile, remain quiet, and be respectfully polite.
After all, quoting Scripture is not your “strong suit,” and the last thing you want to do is become engaged in a religious argument. But it bothers you to listen to someone like that. Isn’t there something you can say? Or should say?
Maybe you’re a Twelve-Stepper or a mainstream churchgoer, you may consider yourself a nontraditional believer.
Perhaps you’ve found New Thought religion—Religious Science (Science of Mind), Unity, Christian Science, or blends of Eastern/Metaphysical thought—intellectually stimulating and spiritually comforting.
These approaches simply make sense to you. Questions about God, the meaning of life, the moral foundations of good and bad personal behavior, meditation, the afterlife, and prayer are not only relevant, but the answers you are getting are actually intelligible and usable.
Writings about spiritual paths, inner peace, stress reduction, creativity, addictions, health, holistic and alternative therapies seem to be right on the money for us. They all talk to us about essential spiritual things—the mind-body-spirit connection—in a language we can understand.
(Gen. 12:1–4a, 7) “I will make of thee a great nation ... and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed ... Unto thy seed will I give this land.” ~ Donald L. O'Dell