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My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’
The author argues that there are many meanings of the adjective 'biblical.'
November 17th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

My Take: The danger of calling behavior ‘biblical’

Editor's Note: Rachel Held Evans is a popular blogger from Dayton, Tennessee, and author of “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.”

By Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

On "The Daily Show" recently, Jon Stewart grilled Mike Huckabee about a TV ad in which Huckabee urged voters to support “biblical values” at the voting box.

When Huckabee said that he supported the “biblical model of marriage,” Stewart shot back that “the biblical model of marriage is polygamy.”

And there’s a big problem, Stewart went on, with reducing “biblical values” to one or two social issues such as abortion and gay marriage, while ignoring issues such as poverty and immigration reform.

It may come as some surprise that as an evangelical Christian, I cheered Stewart on from my living room couch.

As someone who loves the Bible and believes it to be the inspired word of God, I hate seeing it reduced to an adjective like Huckabee did. I hate seeing my sacred text flattened out, edited down and used as a prop to support a select few political positions and platforms.

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And yet evangelicals have grown so accustomed to talking about the Bible this way that we hardly realize we’re doing it anymore. We talk about “biblical families,” “biblical marriage,” “biblical economics,” “biblical politics,” “biblical values,” “biblical stewardship,” “biblical voting,” “biblical manhood,” “biblical womanhood,” even “biblical dating” to create the impression that the Bible has just one thing to say on each of these topics - that it offers a single prescriptive formula for how people of faith ought to respond to them.

But the Bible is not a position paper. The Bible is an ancient collection of letters, laws, poetry, proverbs, histories, prophecies, philosophy and stories spanning multiple genres and assembled over thousands of years in cultures very different from our own.

When we turn the Bible into an adjective and stick it in front of another loaded word, we tend to ignore or downplay the parts of the Bible that don’t quite fit our preferences and presuppositions. In an attempt to simplify, we force the Bible’s cacophony of voices into a single tone and turn a complicated, beautiful, and diverse holy text into a list of bullet points we can put in a manifesto or creed. More often than not, we end up more committed to what we want the Bible to say than what it actually says.

Nowhere is this more evident than in conversations surrounding “biblical womanhood.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Growing up in the Bible Belt, I received a lot of mixed messages about the appropriate roles of women in the home, the church and society, each punctuated with the claim that this or that lifestyle represented true “biblical womanhood.”

In my faith community, popular women pastors such as Joyce Meyer were considered unbiblical for preaching from the pulpit in violation of the apostle Paul's restriction in 1 Timothy 2:12 ("I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent"), while Amish women were considered legalistic for covering their heads in compliance with his instructions in 1 Corinthians 11:5 ("Every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head").

Pastors told wives to submit to their husbands as the apostle Peter instructed in 1 Peter 3:1, but rarely told them to avoid wearing nice jewelry as the apostle instructs them just one sentence later in 1 Peter 3:3. Despite the fact that being single was praised by both Jesus and Paul, I learned early on that marriage and motherhood were my highest callings, and that Proverbs 31 required I keep a home as tidy as June Cleaver's.

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This didn’t really trouble me until adulthood, when I found myself in a childless egalitarian marriage with a blossoming career and an interest in church leadership and biblical studies. As I wrestled with what it meant to be a woman of faith, I realized that, despite insistent claims that we don’t “pick and choose” from the Bible, any claim to a “biblical” lifestyle requires some serious selectivity.

After all, technically speaking, it is “biblical” for a woman to be sold by her father to pay off debt, “biblical” for a woman to be required to marry her rapist, “biblical” for her to be one of many wives.

So why are some Bible passages lifted out and declared “biblical,” while others are explained away or simply ignored? Does the Bible really present a single prescriptive lifestyle for all women?

These were the questions that inspired me to take a page from A.J. Jacobs, author of "The Year of Living Biblically", and try true biblical womanhood on for size—literally, no “picking and choosing."

This meant, among other things, growing out my hair, making my own clothes, covering my head whenever I prayed, abstaining from gossip, remaining silent in church (unless I was “prophesying,” of course), calling my husband "master,” even camping out in my front yard during my period to observe the Levitical purity laws that rendered me unclean.

During my yearlong experiment, I interviewed a variety of women practicing biblical womanhood in different ways — an Orthodox Jew, an Amish housewife, even a polygamist family - and I combed through every commentary I could find, reexamining the stories of biblical women such as Deborah, Ruth, Hagar, Tamar, Mary Magdalene, Priscilla and Junia.

My goal was to playfully challenge this idea that the Bible prescribes a single lifestyle for how to be a woman of faith, and in so doing, playfully challenge our overuse of the term “biblical.” I did this not out of disdain for Scripture, but out of love for it, out of respect for the fact that interpreting and applying the Bible is a messy, imperfect and - at times - frustrating process that requires humility and grace as we wrestle the text together.

The fact of the matter is, we all pick and choose. We’re all selective in our interpretation and application of the biblical text. The better question to ask one another is why we pick and choose the way that we do, why we emphasis some passages and not others. This, I believe, will elevate the conversation so that we’re using the Bible, not as a blunt weapon, but as a starting point for dialogue.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rachel Held Evans.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (4,657 Responses)
  1. Happy New Year Everybody

    No Need for religions to say a thing they should be answering the statement below!
    ORIGIN OF LIFE: Hypothesis Traces First Protocells Back to Emergence of Cell Membrane Bioenergetics
    Dec. 20, 2012 — A coherent pathway – which starts from no more than rocks, water and carbon dioxide and leads to the emergence of the strange bio-energetic properties of living cells – has been traced for the first time in a major hypothesis paper in Cell this week.

    December 29, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Bill

      How did matter form out of nothing without any help from an outside designer?

      December 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Happy

      dark matter, an elusive substance that can be sensed only by its gravitational pull,

      December 29, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Courts

      @Bill
      Can't teach ID/creatioismn in public shools according to courts.

      December 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Randy

      The bible answers it for you. Nothing is impossible with God, He is the beginning and the end, the author and the finisher, Meaning he is the ultimate scientist that is much older than when you think life came into being. He has always been creating even millions of years ago. Having faith means having hope. Atheist don't believe in hope. I posses something that keeps me from being a person that just wants to take. Take God from people take hope and that is just wrong.

      January 1, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children nor any living thing

      So Randy, The answer is simply God's "magic" huh? uh, yeah... right...

      February 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Polycarp

      Courts
      @Bill
      Can't teach ID/creatioismn in public shools according to courts-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Bill, he lost the argument, by resorting to legalism with himself. Like it or not, one CANNOT create a living thing out of nothing. Court, yourself should know and Understand that yourself, you, yourself CANNOT create life out of nothingness. IF you can, PROVE it, now immediately!!! If your married, a physical wife, means one can possibly impregnant her, and she gets pregnant. Now if one tries to destroy marriage, one would than try to deceive the rest of us with brilliant educated lies, falsehoods of your scientific, and legal theories.

      February 26, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What is wrong with you? Nobody said life arose from nothing. And there's no evidence that there was a creator.

      Creationism isn't taught in science classes in public schools because it isn't science. It's belief and not one shared by all.

      February 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
    • TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE

      Courts,

      No wonder why Americans are in 34th, if not 37th place in the world when it comes to education. Thanks to evolutionists!

      February 26, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  2. Blatant Atheist

    "As someone who loves the Bible and believes it to be the inspired word of God, I hate seeing it reduced to an adjective like Huckabee did. I hate seeing my sacred text flattened out, edited down and used as a prop to support a select few political positions and platforms."

    It seems to me that its been used that way since it was written.

    December 28, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Blatant Atheist

      Not saying everyone does... But the book does have a history of this.

      December 28, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  3. papaw nick

    I believe our values should be guided and arrive at by the scriptures. We should listen to others as they share what they believe and "why" they believe it. I have a few men I greatly respect and we have had some great discussions about scripture and what it means. We don't always think as others do, but we listen to "why" they believe it. Some times we take it home and study and research the topic and meet again to discuss it and what we have come to believe. No one is told they are right or wrong but we understand why they think as they do.

    December 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      Papaw Nick:
      If those discussions lead you to be a better person, that is great. However please don't fall for the fallacy that everybody needs to do what you do, or believe what you do. If you take solice in your personal beliefs, more power to you.

      "I believe our values should be guided and arrive at by the scriptures. We should listen to others as they share what they believe and "why" they believe it." ... is fine for YOU and others that believe the same. But to extrapolate that to demand or expect that others follow you beliefs or path is not welcomed, and I hope you respect that.

      Belief in the bible or any gods is not necessary to be a decent human being, or to arrive at values to live by.

      January 27, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Religion is not healthy for children nor any living thing

      If reading those ancient and primitive "scriptures" convinces you to be a good person, then good for you! Personally, I do not require a 2,000 year old book of questionable meaning and source simply to understand how and why I should be a benevolent person and help others in need. I have no problem with your dependence upon archaic opinions, but please do not presume that I nor anyone else must do the same simply to live a moral life!

      February 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
  4. Happy

    Raising a chalice of wine into the air, Pope Leo toasted: "How well we know what a profitable superst_ition this fable of Christ has been for us ...

    December 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Scott

      Your source? If you are going to quote someone, you should at least provide the source. And please don't tell me Wikipedia. Also, even if a "pope" said that, does that make it right? I have known several people that have walked away from God...It won't make Him any less real when we stand before Him when we die.

      January 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
  5. CSX

    First two are sins, second two are fruits of works from love. The first is eternal, the seond is temporary.

    December 28, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • really?

      HUH ? that's crazy talk, hope you don't have an assault weapon handy!!

      December 29, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  6. Ed Schultz

    This is a reply from me to someone trying to tell me to just accept something. I quoted their statement first after several discussions, then followed it with my response of the PROOF that god does not exist. The truth needs to be known.
    "Now this is hard to understand and logic is not going to help you."
    This is where i refuse to not use logic. See everything you are quoting is from a book. I never met jesus, and neither have you. The fact that I am using logic, and my brain (that god created if he does exist), proves that he actually does NOT exist. I know because I cried for a very long time, when i did not get an answer. This is very difficult, because I really did want him to exist, but I REFUSE TO BE DISHONEST TO MYSELF TO FEEL MORE COMFORTABLE. As for people that claim to have faith as your self. You don't really have faith, neither do many people that claim they have faith. Deep down, you really don't know that god exists. My proof: EVERY IMPORTANT CHARACTER IN THE BIBLE THAT DID RECEIVE FAITH, HAD DIRECT CONTACT WITH GOD IN SOME FORM. For example, the 12 apostles, lived with jesus for 3 years. They lived with god, they did not have to just think it’s true, they experienced it. You keep going down the line, moses, abraham, all of them had some strong communication with god WITHOUT JUST ACCEPTING, THEY EXPERIENCED GOD. Even after jesus died and came back to life by the holy spirit. Mathew said, I will not believe until i put my finger in his wound. WHAT DID JESUS ACTUALLY DO???? HE SHOWED UP. I know this because i truly asked, with all of my heart. And one thing i can always rely on is that i stayed honest to my self this entire journey. Logic and truth is the only thing left, and we began this discussion on logic and FACTS.
    So in conclusion, humans can not be fairer than god, and when people say that we can't understand god, that is different than going against all common sense, reasoning and logic that he CREATED for us to use. So how do i know that you don't really know that god exists? Simple, this god created both you and me. So how come you know that he exists, by just accepting, when I actually went directly to him to find out if he is there???? The answer is simple, because god can not be less fair than a human, he therefore does not exist. A true loving parent does not favor one child over another, and in the same sense, god if he does exist, can not play favorites, and allows for all humans on earth so simply accept something. Even now, when you read a book, any book, we as humans, we are skeptical, we don't just blindly believe everything we read. If i gave you the koran, you do not blindly accept it, you ask questions. Well jesus, if he is god, did not come down with a book, there was no bible like you have today for 1000 years later. jesus came down so that he personally delivered his true message. if god wanted us to know that he exists through books, he could have just dropped a million books from the sky, instead of coming down and going through all of that torture.
    You don't know if god exists, and as sad as it is, because i wanted him to exist, he does not exist. Many times i was tempted to just accept and say this is true, only because it made some sense, but it isn't that simple.
    For example, if I and you are in the same room, and there was an apple in the room, we WOULD NOT DEBATE OR EVEN HAVE A SLIGHT DISCUSSION ON IF THE APPLE EXIST OR DOES NOT EXIST. The fact that people debate the existence of god (such as you and i) means it is not as simple as ACCEPTING.
    I hope some of this logic (truth) got through to you, if not, then you can try asking your self for 10 years, and truly wait for an answer. Not just coincidences that many people mistake for god, but truly wait, until he does answer you. If you read your bible, you will notice that he did in fact answer all of the main characters, whether it is in the form of a burning bush, or blinding st. Paul. it was an act of the supernatural that the characters in the bible received, before they actually claimed to have TRUE FAITH

    December 21, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Agnotsic

      Hi Ed. I appreciate the from the heart. I understand (atleast partly) where you are comming from. I also, despirately wanted proof of "something". When I was about twelve I remember trying to "conjur satan" with a ouijah bored and when nothing occured I remember being very disapointed. I believe in God in the sense that I like to hold on to the possibility that "awereness" is present in our daily actions. Self as part of a larger whole of sentience...but again its only a theory.

      December 27, 2012 at 6:21 am |
    • Agnostic

      Sorry about the spelling error it is very early in the morning and I have not had my coffee yet.

      December 27, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  7. Ralph

    Three qualities one needs in order to understand the Bible... Humility, Honesty, & Hungry. You cannot be a pride full, arrogant person if you want to understand what the Bible teaches. You also have to be honest with yourself and you have to a have a sense of longing for Bible knowledge. You have to hunger for it, in your search for Bible truth and understanding. Two things can help us to understand the Bible correctly. First, consider the context (surrounding verses) of any statement. Next, compare texts with other statements in the Bible that deal with the same subject. In that way we are letting God’s own Word guide our thinking, and the interpretation is not ours but his.
    http://www.jw.org

    December 19, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • stoneyage

      Don't you have to be like a little child too? Naive and gullible?

      December 20, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Wake Up

      When such a Bible has been manipulated and changed to suit other's agenda...its a wonder it even works at all. Huckabee is a religious idi0t pushing his brand of cr ap on us. G W Bush did us all a huge disfavor when he allowed these morons into politics and government. But then he never touched a thing that he didn't mess up. I take the bible for what it is, a bunch of stories heavily massaged by the early church, The real Jesus is not there. It is up to you to seek and find him.

      December 23, 2012 at 7:32 am |
    • sam stone

      Huckabee is not an idiot. He is an opportunist

      December 27, 2012 at 6:17 am |
    • JOHN

      Author... first wake up and separate the Old Testament from the New. That is 3/4 of your problem. you are either very shallow in your understanding of scriptures or trying to cause more confusion in this confused world.

      December 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  8. WES Gibbs

    Way to go lady, if all the women of America were made to wear a Burka like in the Middle East where you could only see their eyes because some stupid preacher said it was God's word and the temperature got up to a hundred there would be so many men getting their butt beat at home that night, they would change every denomiation and church and tell them to keep the Bible in the Church and God in their heart and let the Holy Spirit be their teacher and lead them into all truth like Jesus Christ said in the Scriptures.

    December 19, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  9. grace

    any christian that has any basic understanding of the bible knows that all the laws and principles in the bible are subject to TWO SUPREME LAWS – love your gGod with all your heart, mind, strength and Love your neighbour as yourself. why is she citing old testament laws as bibilical principles without any cross reference to the new testament standard set by Jesus? Or what Paul explains about the role of the Old Testament to thenew testament believer??. makes me wonder if she is genuine....

    December 17, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • we are connected

      grace – you seem like you are a naysayer - even the jealous type

      December 17, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      Grace: You are technically right because the first two Commandments encompass all the rest. At least nine out of ten. 1. You shall have no other gods. 2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image. 3. You shall not take the name of God in vain. 4. (remember the Sabbath) 5.Honor your father and mother. 6.You shall not murder. 7. You shall not commit adultery. 8. You shall not steal. 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 10. You shall not covet your neighbors house, wife, or anything that is your neighbors....So you are right in the sense that If we observe the first two Commandments it would be impossible to break the rest....

      December 18, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Wake Up

      The OT was for the Jews. Jesus came to give us only 2 directives. NONE of which these new evangelical types follow. Least of all the republican religion. But Jesus NEVER EVER mentioned abortion or gays...leaves one to wonder if it was so important that he did not.

      December 23, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  10. Get Real

    God really likes to kill a lot of people. He really seems to enjoy it and the bible is chock full of so many examples of either him killing people or commanding his followers to kill people. We are lucky he is imaginary!

    Consider:

    If you look in the Bible, there are an amazing number of people that God wants his followers to murder. For example, in Exodus 35:2 God lays down this commandment:

    For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day shall be your holy day, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it must be put to death.
    Think about that how many people work on the Sabbath - all the employees of Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Linnens & things, grocery stores, convenience stores, power plants, airlines, hospitals, emergency services and on and on and on. Don't rabbis, priests and preachers work on the Sabbath? God wants all of them dead.

    December 16, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Keith

      The scripture in Exodus you are quoting is the old law of the Israelites. These were the laws of the culture then. We are no longer under the law but under the Grace of Jesus Christ as stated in Romans 7:4-6.

      "4. So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. 5. When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. 6. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God, not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit."

      December 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Okay, I'll Get Real

      We are more lucky your understanding is shamefully incorrect.

      December 18, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • dissidentfairy

      Get Real: We are no longer under a Command to observe the Sabbath....so you don't need to stress out over the Walmart employees any more:)

      December 18, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Tyler Whitman

      You also need to take into consideration the Book of Exodus in it's whole not just one verse, that is why so many "Christians" are hipicrates, they take one verse out of context and overlook the real message. ( I am not saying the quote you cited is wrong and / or took it out of context) since I alone have not read the book of Exodus in the BIble just yet. ( planning on it though! 😀 ).

      December 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • PPLRWRD

      Yeah, God is kind of like.....people. Just kiling and killing. Oh wait, but lets just say God is real hypothetically. Wouln't that make his killing problably justifiable since, well, he is God and knows all and has perfect judgement? Versus humans killing humans who can't even figure our own lives out, yet we think we have what it takes to judge others. Yeah, probably a reason Jesus took the right of judgement away from us. We weren't doing things right and killing for selfishness and personal reasons via real reasons like self defense.

      December 20, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • thinksense1

      The body needs a day of rest, even doctors know that. Being overworked causes health problems if you look at it simply.

      December 23, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
  11. Get Real

    How evil a monster this mythical "God" is. Thank god God is imaginary, for the story of God is a story of a cruel mass murderer. If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly good, he would not bring people into the world knowing that they would go to hell and be tortured forever- a perfectly good being would never do such a thing.

    If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly EVIL, then god would create people knowing in advance they were going to burn in hell forever.

    Oh yeah, other examples of gods evil ways:

    1. Murdering innocent children during the flood
    2. Murdering Job's family
    3. Telling Abraham is kill his son
    4. Killing the innocent first born children in Egypt
    5. Requiring a human sacrifice for the salvation of mankind

    Clearly god is not love, he is pure evil. Fortunately for us he is purely imaginary.

    December 16, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • cnn reader

      can you please explain the root of evil that exists on earth? where does it come from? why does it happen? where is the justice when the killer kills himself?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • the AnViL

      the root of evil is mental illness

      the true forces of darkness are the enemies of reason.

      December 17, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • cnn reader

      so you think the root of evil is mental illness. what causes mental illness?

      December 17, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Okay, I'll Get Real

      Why should the bible be singled out in all literature in not being supposed to be subjected to reading-between-the-lines?

      December 18, 2012 at 2:34 am |
    • dissidentfairy

      Get Real: You just don't get it. Many of the examples you gave were evil committed by man not by God. Satan challenged God regarding Job and said that he could turn every man against God if given the chance, even Job. So God basically allowed him to try. The only stipulation was that he not take Job's life. God was also testing Abraham but he didn't allow him to kill his son. During the time of Noah people were responsible for their children. They refused to listen to Noah. Egypt brought on their own problems and punishment due to their defiance.

      God wants people to obey him out of love not out of force. Abraham and Job and Noah proved themselves to be faithful servants of God. If we are wise we should do the same. God's thoughts are far higher than ours. He has his own sense of what is fair and just, and even though sad things have happened throughout history regarding children, etc. He knows that He will make it All right in the end. "He will wipe every tear from their eyes and death will be no more." He gave his Son out of love for us, as a sacrifice for our sins, to buy back what Adam had lost. Eternal life for the human race. Instead of condemning God for his higher sense of justice "an eye for an eye" we should All be grateful to him, to have been given a second chance at life.

      There is no such thing as a literal Hell. It's another man made tactic introduced by religion to intimidate and frighten people into donating money to the Church(s). The Bible says, "the wages sin pays is death." Not eternal torment. If you compare various Biblical translations they all say the same thing using different words to describe the context of the same scripture: sheol, hades, hell, pit and grave are all used. They are nothing more than the grave, or non existence=death. Fire is used in the Bible as a symbol for cleansing. Could Lazarus.....could his thirst really have been quenched with "one drop of water" while he was literally burning in Hell? No way! That parable is symbolic! If there was a literal hell, you would be right, that would make God out to be a monster, worse than man, but thankfully there is Not!

      The Hell Fire concept started with the Catholics and spread into main stream religion. The Catholics of course created imaginary places like Purgatory and Limbo! Why? To profit from Hell. If they could get grieving loved ones to pay for a certificate of redemption their loved one could go straight to heaven instead of being stuck in Limbo or Purgatory, or heaven forbid in Hell. The rich man could buy his way into heaven whereas the poor man was out of luck. Just the opposite of what Jesus Christ taught when he said, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

      December 18, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Wake Up

      Yeah all OT yahweh god. It leads me to believe it wasn't god at all.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  12. Todd T-Diddy Reynolds

    Okay I have been in thought and prayer long enough to bring everyone this message.

    Not only is our God a forgiving God, He is a God of miracles. How then can we see God in our world? How can we see His miracles in such tragedies? After searching my soul and Listening, I bring this to you. God loves you! And how you let His love live thru you is how the world will see Him. These are tragic times...and can only be leveled off with equally dramatic love and faith in our God. He makes no mistakes! He is now and has been for along time trying to get our attention! How has He been doing this? By allowing us to make the mistakes He doesn't. Everything that is happening is just another chance for us to open our eyes. We have no one person to blame for this. Our culture has fallen to the lies that we don't need God and that success comes from amount of fame, money, and material possessions we can obtain in this life. God is not mad at us but rather deeply hurt by our choices in putting idols infront of Him. My prayer is that this message reaches to the ends of the world. How much more is God going have to allow to happen before we as a nation united by the blood of Jesus stop denying Him and begin to acknowledge Him in all that we do. Please I ask that you don't let a day slip by without doing and least one selfless act in the name of Jesus. Pray for the departed and the ones left grieving. Let God live in you and your actions be Christ like.

    December 15, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Maya

      Tell that to 20 dead kids in Connecticut. If your god is a god of miracles, where were the miracles to protect those kids? If God doesn't consider 6 and 7 year old kids worth saving, then does he really deserve worship?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • joe

      Name one miracle that god has done.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • we are connected

      Maya – my experience with God has been confusing - I can not explain God to you or prove that he exists. We all agree that evil does exist and proves itself to us everyday.

      My idea of God is a little complex and not accepted by most. I don't believe that the bible actually describes God as He really is, even though I enjoy the bible and rely on it to teach me good.. What we understand as life and death has a greater higher far more complex meaning to God than it does to us.

      We can only see the shooter as a monster . . . God understands the shooter in a way that we can not.

      To me, God is the guy that knows . . . why?

      December 18, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Wake Up

      Follow the god of death and killing like the muslims and that is what you get. Jesus is so misunderstood by all most of all the Church. Don't look for him in Churches, he's not there.

      December 23, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  13. Libby Tarian

    Religion if for spiritual weaklings who wish to abdicate their god given autonomy because they don't trust themselves to trust their own inner voice.

    By the way – no organizations in the history of humanity have been more profitable and more brutal than religions. They are a business that attracts people who are too weak to obey their own god given conscience. Hiding in a religion will not save you from paying the natural price of consequence for free will choices – all things come to balance eventually. You don't need nor will you ever see evidence for sure of that, but I believe that if you religious nut jobs knew anything about gods natural laws you would instinctively know that.

    December 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • dissidentfairy

      Libby: Obviously you are a believer in God but not in religion. I would agree with you that most religions have done nothing for man or for God. They have financially fleeced their flocks while not telling them the truth. There has been one embarrassment and scandal after another. They have infiltrated themselves into politics where they don't belong. So yes, I too believe that religion as a whole has done more harm than good.

      I'm sure if Christ were here on the earth today he would liken most of them to the Scribes and Pharisees of old. When it comes to letting our conscience be our guide that's all fine and good but sometimes we still need more. The Bible says that "mans inclination is toward doing what is bad", so we still need to rely on something more than our own conscience. I would suggest relying on the Bible and building a close personal relationship with God.

      December 15, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Wake Up

      The present day Bible is a poor guide to God. Look to the muslims and see religion turned on its head. A force of evil, death and slavery. They have rediscovered many of the texts the Church tried so hard to get rid of. You can get the ones that have been translated here gnosis .org specifically the Hag Hammadi Library. I'd say, let the Church try and get rid of this...

      December 23, 2012 at 8:36 am |
  14. cathytto

    I have definitely shared in the same thoughts of this article. Thanks for writing!

    December 14, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  15. J the Agnostic

    By "Biblical" what they really mean is "American Conservative Christian" These things are not the same.

    December 14, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  16. ScepticStill

    she sees the questions but doesn't make the logical next step, rather than the inspired word of god, the bible is a collection of myths and legends with a healthy dose of patriarchal control freak

    December 14, 2012 at 2:16 am |
    • Equalizer357

      you're gay?

      December 14, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • Bubba

      You guys all have it wrong. This lady writing this article brings up well that Peter and Paul address roles of women including that they ought to cover their heads, etc. But it's clear what is cultural and what is God's framework. We look at Creation when we consider what the Bible is saying. It's not just up in the air for us all to translate in our own selfish way. Look at God's design. Women ought not teach publicly in the Church, not just because Paul points this out, but because God's design tells us. Read Genesis and believe it. It's clear that wives ought to submit to their husbands, just has the Church submits to Christ. Likewise, husbands must love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her. The fact is that we sin daily and always fail at living according to God's Will. So we don't try to find some excuse in the Bible to defend our societal trends. Forget our Godless society. Put Christ on and there is your righteousness, free and through no merit of our own- thank God!
      As far as "biblical behavior", sure there's biblical behavior. It's Christian behavior. John Stewart is a fool and doesn't understand the bible. It's sad to see how little Christians are able to differentiate between biblical culture and doctrine. Learn it, don't feel it. As soon as John Stewart says something so ignorant, Christians should be blasting back at him with knowledge so that there is no room for emoting such an empty article like this.

      December 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • we are connected

      Equalizer357 and Bubba

      I'm not gay and I think the bible has a lot of myth to it. I don't agree with Peter and Paul about women. People forget that most of the letters written in the New Testement were in answer to questions from the people in the chruches that were started by the disciples and then the disciples moved on to start new churches. This required a lot of letter writing back and forth to help the fledgling churches with ritualistic customs that were primarily jewish and nomadic in nature. None of the customs of that day are appropriate for today's culture.

      Submitting to a husband, is not salvation. Covering one's head is not salvation. People confuse "customs" with proper conduct . . . neither of which determines your salvation. If christians paid as much attention to charity as they do to "sin" there would be no poverty. And yes, I understand that christians interpret charity as "love". Again, if chritians practiced charity rather than straining at what is and what isn't sinc and who is and who isn't a sinner there would be no poverty, there would be no need for locked doors and there would be no need for gun control . . all our children would be safe anywhere and everywhere in our society. Christians have failed to do their christian duty because they entertain themself with "doctrine" rather than actual practice.

      December 18, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  17. E101

    How about this a pope (leo) said long ago that the bible is the biggest profitable superstion the church has had OK !!!

    December 13, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Sharif

      THANK YOU! POPE LEO IS THE REASON WHY VATICAN CITY HAS BUILDINGS MADE FROM GOLD

      December 14, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  18. E101

    Scientists have unearthed the first direct signs of cheesemaking, at a site in Poland that dates back 7,500 years.

    December 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Leah Reis

      Man created God in his own image.

      December 13, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  19. bonesiii

    It's not about arbitrarily "picking and choosing" but listening to God's whole message in full context. To put it another way, the answer to your question of how we should "pick" is to listen to how God picked. 🙂 Now we might come to different conclusions for a while in that attempt, but I reject the notion that we all "pick and choose." There is always a clear, objective "biblical" meaning when it's studied thoroughly in any given subject.

    IMO, the term should be used specifically to describe what a person has found only through that thorough research on that topic. I agree it shouldn't be thrown around haphazardly, but it's generally used (currently) fairly accurately.

    December 12, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • sam stone

      you sure seem to have an issue confusing man's opinion with god's

      December 12, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • J the Agnostic

      HA bonesiii You seem to be the one that has a problem leaving out the context. This article was awesome. A Christian that's not a blind sheep. AMAZING

      December 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  20. kindness

    This is my experience... Thank you.

    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    I Accepted Jesus christ as my lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners. Even once we are saved by christs merciful grace we will still experience adversity to mold us to adhering to the truth.
    We will slip... But not fall of the ship ...carrying us onward to perfection in christs grace.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from some other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith ....above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read romans or corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are by faith above reason in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved
    Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,
    And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
    The, looking in, I saw upon the floor
    Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.
    “How many anvils have you had,” said I,
    “To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
    “Just one,” said he, and then with twinkling eye,
    “The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
    And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,
    For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;
    Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,
    The anvil is unharmed – the hammers gone.

    Truth is..exclusive

    December 11, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Except the hammers are not gone and as there is no evidence of a god how can an anvil be its word?

      December 11, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • A

      At least pretend you read the article instead of copying and pasting a bunch of garbage.

      December 11, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • JuJuBee

      Thanks for posting

      December 12, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Iron

      Thank you for posting this. and it is my testimony too. I went through exact the same transformation when repent 6 yr ago. It astonished me how blind I was about earthly values that consumed all of me. Born again or enlightenment or whatever you call it, is impossible to explain to someone who have not given his hand to God for guidance and wisdom.. it is a miracle to see your eyes open and your heart (character) change. I started to understand the meaning of good and evil without relativism. I started to see hearts and not faces. Yes, it is difficult, but it is the truth that is written in your changed heart. Yes.. you will get destroyed for this, for truth.. just like Jesus.. by those who are blind.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:29 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.