Tag: Misusing Scripture

O is for Ouija Board Bible

open-bible1I opened my eyes and read the verse above my forefinger,  “Depart, depart, go out thence…”*

“Huh?” My voice became a series of squeaky, coloratura notes, “Yesterday, You told me ‘Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!’** Today You tell me to depart? You keep doing this, giving me contradictory messages. What am I supposed to do?! How can I know?!”

As my Bible fell onto the bed, I reached for my brush. “I don’t get You.” Each word was accompanied by an angry pull of the brush through my hair. “What am I supposed to do?!” More hasty strokes. “If you want me to go, tell me where!” my arm stopped plying the brush midway. “If You want me to stay, just tell me and tell me what I’m supposed to do!” My voice reached a crescendo, “Just tell me what You want me to do!” I quickly went to my door, cracked it, and listened. “At least I’m the only one here,” I said softly.

“I can’t do this anymore!” I told my Friend. “I can’t continue to play Ouija board Bible!” My breathe came quickly, “I don’t care what Caitlin says. It’s too confusing. I’m not a spiritualist. Opening the Bible with closed eyes and then reading at the place my finger lands is like using the Bible as a Ouija board…” Thoughts percolated within my heart. I waited for them to coalesce into words.

My forehead crinkled. I breathed a loud sigh through my nose, “It’s like trying to force answers out of You to ease my anxiety. But maybe the anxiety is the cross You want me to carry now. It’s not as if I don’t know what You’ve been telling me all along, ‘Wait.’ I just want to know how long I must wait and You won’t tell me that. That’s why I’m playing Ouija board Bible, to circumnavigate You. To get answers You won’t give.”

A calmer face looked back at me from the mirror, “All right. No more Ouija board Bible. When I’m anxious, I’ll tell You. And when You have something to say to me, I’ll just trust You to tell me. You’ve been telling me all my life, I guess I can trust You now.”

I glanced at the Bible lying on my bed. “Please,” I begged. “Help me to wait.”

* Isaiah 52:11

** Psalm 27:14

C is for Chastise

He who planted the ear, does he not hear?
He who formed the eye, does he not see?
He who chastens the nations, does he not chastise?
He who teaches men knowledge,
the LORD, knows the thoughts of man,
that they are but a breath. (Psalm 94:9-11)

“Do you have anything for me,” Ashford asked as he passed my desk. Distractedly, I handed him a file and returned to my book. “He still hasn’t given you the brief,” he mused.

“Nope,” I looked into his tired eyes. My own itched from eighteen hour days that wouldn’t end.

“What are you reading?” he leaned over my shoulder.

“A book of commentary on the Psalms,” I told him. “It’s for class.”

“I love the Psalms,” his eyes were shining now. “I wrote my M.Div. thesis on them”

is for chastise scared-child“I know,” I smiled at the seminarian turned attorney. “I used to hate some of the Psalms, particularly those that talked about chastisement. The minister I lived with when I was a girl often insisted he was chastising us for our own good. I thought chastise meant punish – harshly and horribly.” I took a breath as I sought one particular page I had flagged. “While I was reading the commentary on Psalm 94, it struck me, I had never checked the meaning or etymology of the word chastise. Finally, I did and discovered it means to purify.”

Ashford nodded, “Exactly.”

“God has never been punishing me. He’s giving me what I want, purification.” I pursed my lips for a moment and then smiled, “God is nothing like the minister. I knew that when I was a child but I’m only now learning just how little he actually loved. He never cared about purifying us, only making us pay for offending him. And it was horribly easy to offend him.”

Ashford’s smile answered mine, “I had a similar experience with my father. That’s why I went to seminary.”

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