I want to offer this story of a lady I worked with as a response to the threads that have evoked such polarizing viewpoiints around the nature of Scripture, truth, etc.
In my ministry I visited an elderly lady who was a very dedicated Christian. Even a Sunday School teacher. When she first met me, she wanted to be sure I believed the Bible was the inerrant word of God. This questioning occured shortly after I crossed the threshold of her front door. I will try to reconstruct this as close to verbatim as I can. I don't like long posts, but I hope this will be worth it.
Lady: "I certainly hope you believe in the Bible being the inerrant word of God."
Me: Which part?
L: Well (flabbergasted) ...the whole thing of course.
M: Is there a particular story or part of the Bible that you could share with me that you would like for me to confirm is inerrant?
L: The whole thing.
M: Well, just give me one story and maybe we can talk about it.
M: Tell me about Noah.
L: YOu know the story. The flood and all.
M: Tell me what you remember about the story.
L: The world was evil and God was going to destroy it with the flood, Noah built an ark, gathered animals two by two and he and his family were saved.
M: Then what happened?
L: Well it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. Finally the rains stopped.
M: And then?
L: God sent a bird with a twig as a sign that it was over. Gave the sing of a rainbow.
M: Then what happened?
L: What do you mean? That's it.
M: No there's more to the story.
L: LIke what?
M:That part where Noah gets drunk, exposes himself and curses his family.
L:That's not in there!
M:It's in mine.
L:Where?! (I show her).
M:Why do you think that happened at the end of that story?
Allow me to digress at this point. This lady had a very painful relationship with several of her children who were mentally ill. One she had not seen in 15 years though she only lived 2 blocks away. Over the cours of months we talked extensively about the emotional pain of being a "survivor" (like Noah) and the daily struggle of living with emotional pain. Despite this lady's initial resistence to me I give her credit for feeling the depths of her fears and sadness. She eventually reconciled with her daughter prior to her death.
A few months prior to her death, we had a flood that left her neighborhood under water. She lost her heat,, water heater and other utilities in the home. When I came back to see her (after the rainbow) I asked her if she felt like Noah. She said, "I sure did, but I didn't get drunk and expose myself, even though I felt like it!" We both laughed over this.
Here is my point to this story. The Bible is a wonderful book. However, we really don't know how wonderful it is until we can make some type of emotional connection or identification to it. This lady knew all the right words, all the right passages, all the right thinking, however, she was not "getting it." Contrast the "before and after" of this woman who met me with defiance, resistence and fear to the woman who could laugh in the face of death.
Do you see what I'm getting at?