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Best Seller - Worst Reader

Posted by onyx 
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Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 01, 2010 07:05PM
On the radio this morning the local Christian station was going on a bout the Bible being the Best Seller in NZ, with over 100,000 sold in the past year... but that it is also the worst read.

Quote
Bible Society NZ
According to research undertaken by The Bible Society in New Zealand, 68% of all New Zealanders own a Bible, and yet only 23% of Bible owners pick it up and have a read at least once a month.

The research shows that 7% of Bible owners read it daily while 9% read it weekly. The survey also revealed that 46% of New Zealanders describe themselves as Christian. Among Christians, only 11% read the Bible daily and 13% read it weekly.

Results also showed that the Bible’s influence on peoples’ lives is low. 47% of Christians said that the Bible does influence their life, while 39% said it only sometimes influenced their life. 60% of Christians rarely or never discuss the Bible’s teachings with others. In fact, only 26% of Christians regularly discuss the Bible’s teachings with others (weekly or more frequently).

This research confirms the growing Bible engagement crisis happening in New Zealand and many other western nations. Despite the ready availability of Bibles in many different English versions, most New Zealand Christians do not see engaging with God through Bible reading as a priority.

“This is a serious crisis within the New Zealand church. If Christians continue to move away from engaging with the Bible, what will the future of the church in this country look like?” Bible Society CEO Mark Brown says.
And countering this, the Shack is still a best seller. Statistics are really not available to support the figures for NZ bible sales, and the Shack is listed on the NY Times best seller list (not yet a kiwi best seller).

So....I know this is controversial...but why is it that although the Bible sells a lot, very few are even read, yet the Shack is widely read and loved, yet does not purport to be a "doctrinal statement" or anything?

Is it even fair to compare the two books? Ironically, I know that some churches in the States are buying it and distributing it, even though it directly counters the need for a church building. Mind you, the Bible does too, but few see that.

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 02, 2010 09:04PM
Meh. I don't know I think people buy the Bible because it makes them feel safe to own a Bible but they don't read it because the words inside can be terrifying if read through religious lenses.

On the other hand, a lot of people buy The Shack out of curiosity and read it because it helps them peel off those religious lenses.
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 03, 2010 01:27PM
Quote
Mountainash
Meh. I don't know I think people buy the Bible because it makes them feel safe to own a Bible but they don't read it because the words inside can be terrifying if read through religious lenses.

On the other hand, a lot of people buy The Shack out of curiosity and read it because it helps them peel off those religious lenses.
Totally agree.
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 06, 2010 03:39PM
Here's a thought maybe they're a best seller because groups like gideon's buy them in bulk smiling smiley And they're mostly unread cause they lie unopened in the bedside table in your local motel, hotel. Gideon's is a group that distributes bibles around North America, generally to hotels and motels, I think they were handing them out at the olympics this year. Every student in Canada used to get one in Grade 6 in the day but that dates me.

Hey but seriously folks the bible is no easy read. It just doesn't flow smoothly like a normally written book, whether fictional or not. It comes accross as more of legal or other kind of text at times more than an easy to read story.
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 06, 2010 07:56PM
True enough Zinger. We have the Gideons here in NZ too...must be world wide, filling the planet with dead-tree. I'm sure Papa does use those bibles to reach people sometimes...but then if he can use a donkey to get his message across, then there is no issue with him requiring the written words.

So you are Canadian too, eh? IIRC Michael Collum is too. Nice to have a good international mix here!

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 08, 2010 12:28AM
Yeah from Ontario . if they used to give out the gideons that would probly put you in my mom's generation .

Hope you all are well .



Anonymous User
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 08, 2010 02:39PM
Hi guys......I was here yesterday, and had a whole post written and then it got lost. I think I clicked preview instead of post. I had spent over an hour trying to formulate my thoughts.Hammer that PC

This morning I was in TGJ reading Critter's post about feeling isolated, and saw how one of her old church friends wrote a very painful email to her. Then, I was glad my post got eaten yesterday. I don't want to sound like that person did to Critter. You all have become very special to me. I guess that's why I am feeling so bad these days. I got up early this morning and tried to reconstruct the post that was lost, and i am going to take the chance that I might not be received well on this, but I feel that i have to share it or burst. This is not a poison pen letter, and I am not writing it "in christian love" like the garbage Critter had to endure. It is a cry for understanding, that's all. I am willing to respect your disregard for the Bible, but I am asking that you in turn respect my love for it. Here goes:

“Dead tree”? “Dusty old book”?

Wow…are you sure you want to say that???

I felt violated when I read your comments which ridicule or put down the Bible and those who hold it to be sacred. I realize we have differences of opinion, but I do not see the value of showing disrespect. As much as you desire others to respect and understand your views on being a “Free Believer”, you have equal responsibility to show respect for those who value a continuing relationship with God through the Bible.

How did today’s “Free Believers” get all their knowledge about God? About Jesus? Why…from…the Bible itself. Where else? Doh!What other source would be trustworthy? As a result of all the abuse and mistreatment at the hands of those I have trusted in the church to teach me Truth, I no longer respect my own discernment. And sad to say, I don’t respect the discernment of other people either, since what they say and teach is so colored by their own experiences. There has to be a trustworthy source that does not vary according to popular feeling and interpretation. I realize that one of the arguments against basing trust in it is that over the years, man has mis-translated, etc. I believe that the message of God is simple, so simple that a child can understand it. I believe in the Power of the Lord to protect His own word. It must be read as a Love Letter, not a rule book. The Bible provides a plumb line (yes, moral absolutes!) that plants the choice squarely in front of us: God’s way or our own way…repent or perish…slumber or encounter. We cannot in our disillusionment with institutional church, allow ourselves to pick and choose which passages of scripture we will accept and which we will throw away. We cannot use our favorite passages to comfort and encourage one another, and then throw away the passages which make us uncomfortable. The Bible stands on its own merit: nothing can be added to it to make it more complete, and nothing should be subtracted either.

The Bible is the written word of God. Jesus is the Living Word of God (John 1). He loved Scripture, He read it, and He lived it, and He quoted it, using it to defeat the enemy. He told us more than once that He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. He identified Himself as the fulfillment of the scripture he read from the scroll in the synogogue: the One Who came to set free the captives and heal the broken hearted, saying, 'This scripture is fulfilled in your presence this day." He spent a lot of time and energy exposing and decrying the false interpretative burden that the Pharisees had put on the Word of God (including the law). He hated, and hates legalism and the exaltation of man's tradition above the written Word. Scripture is not legalistic. Throwing off legalism has nothing in common with throwing off the validity of scripture. Jesus is my example for that.

The iniquity of our fathers is what started the early church off on the wrong foot, not the scriptures. OUR OWN SIN is what causes us to choose to continue that downward spiral. We cannot blame the Bible for the pain that has been inflicted upon us by the church. The church is a battered, tattered remnant of what was started by Jesus Christ. Why? Because we as people have not chosen to follow and obey what we know to be His desires for us. The Bible is the main way God uses to speak to us and draw us into a love relationship with Him. Reading the Bible, listening to God, and obeying what He says allow us to encounter and experience Him. The Bible speaks to individuals and to churches who will listen, showing us how to walk with Him. It teaches us also how God disciplines His wayward people in love to bring them back to love relationship with Him, calling us to cry out to Him for help.

The Bible is:
God’s history of creation
God’s making of the love relationship covenants with Abraham, Moses and David
Gods promise of the new love relationship covenant
The fulfillment of God’s covenant promises in Jesus Christ
God’s work with HIS CHURCH to establish His kingdom throughout the world
God’s promises of victory for His people and judgment for those who choose to reject Him
God’s history of disciplining and reviving His people, teaching them His Person, ways and purposes.


For some reason known to God and not me right now, He has me still going to the church. My husband's bible class is "taking off". He is on fire and excited about it, and people are coming out of the woodwork to attend. I am doing my best to support that (it is the nearest thing to a true small-group experience I've ever had...) while trying to survive the rest of the package. He is teaching the book of Daniel. It came to me yesterday that I just don't see how anyone who studies the precision of dates and times in prophecy and its accuracy, can not believe it is God speaking to us. Then I went to Psalm 119 and read all the things in there about God's word, and came away from it reinforced.

I am not trying to start a war SoapBoxTomatoHide...I can go away and leave you alone if that would be more comfortable.
Anyone?


Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/08/2010 02:47PM by Phoebe.
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 08, 2010 02:44PM
sure . i respect your love of the bible .

but i take precautions against any demonic activity that surrounds certain interpretations of it .

i have some very dangerous gifts and cannot allow myself to be swayed by human interpretation .

bless .

Hope you all are well .






Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/08/2010 02:45PM by Michael Collum.
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 08, 2010 10:01PM
Wow Phoebe! Good on you for standing up for something you believe in very strongly! ((((Phoebe))))

I fully respect that what you have written is real for you at this time, but I personally have problems with some of it...(and please don't take my questions as an attack; I really value the interchange of opinion and experience!)...
Quote
Phoebe
The Bible is the main way God uses to speak to us and draw us into a love relationship with Him. Reading the Bible, listening to God, and obeying what He says allow us to encounter and experience Him.
Really? Says who? Why did it then take 1500 years before the printing press was invented, in order to start mass production of this book? Up until that point the scriptures were held by an elite few, for the elite few. That hardly sounds like something that the God that I know would have dreamed up. How about ..." The Bible is a way God can use to speak to us and draw us into a love relationship with Him...but he has also put His Spirit within us to counsel us and guide us through life...it is His spirit that illuminates the Bible to us, and His Spirit that can take any message, any experience, and teach us and love us. Without that Spirit were are in direct violation of His message, and calling him a liar...but without a Bible...well just no Bible...it is not in any way mandatory. "?

According to the Bible, Jesus said he would send us the friend/counsellor when he was gone. That he did. And that counsellor is ALL he relied upon to spread his message. Where is it recorded that Jesus told his disciples to write down what he had said / done? It doesn't say that. Because his disciples were illiterate? Surely Jesus knew that. So is the Bible even something that HE WANTED?

Please do not run the risk of idolizing a book. It is making a graven image of Him, and something He does not want to happen.

Quote

The Bible is the written word of God.
Again, Really? Please show me how and where it calls itself this. Because if it is referring to itself as the Word of God, and Jesus as the Word of God, then that makes the Bible as Jesus. eye popping smiley And it is idolatry, according to it's own definition.

Quote

The Bible is:
God’s history of creation
God’s making of the love relationship covenants with Abraham, Moses and David
Gods promise of the new love relationship covenant
The fulfillment of God’s covenant promises in Jesus Christ
God’s work with HIS CHURCH to establish His kingdom throughout the world
God’s promises of victory for His people and judgment for those who choose to reject Him
God’s history of disciplining and reviving His people, teaching them His Person, ways and purposes.
Almost agreed... semantics I know, but...

The Bible TELLS OF:
God’s history of creation
God’s making of the love relationship covenants with Abraham, Moses and David
Gods promise of the new love relationship covenant
The fulfillment of God’s covenant promises in Jesus Christ
God’s work with HIS CHURCH to establish His kingdom throughout the world
God’s promises of victory for His people and judgment for those who choose to reject Him
God’s history of disciplining and reviving His people, teaching them His Person, ways and purposes.

It is an important distinction to remove the definite article...because it is just a book in the hands, not some magical tome with its own life.

I read the Bible myself. But do not rely upon it for spiritual sustenance. Jesus is the Bread of life. His Spirit testifies to that.
Quote

How did today’s “Free Believers” get all their knowledge about God? About Jesus? Why…from…the Bible itself. Where else? Doh!What other source would be trustworthy?
Agreed, I got my latter knowledge of Him from the Bible...through the interpretation and prompting of others...but now wish I had stuck to the indwelling revelation that he began in me before I got to rely upon the Bible. I knew him BEFORE I knew how to read this book. And that is very important, because a book and it's interpretations can be twisted.

What of those who are still illiterate / who do not have a Bible? Are they therefore condemned to walk in darkness - without knowledge of Him?

Quote

Jesus is the Living Word of God (John 1). He loved Scripture, He read it, and He lived it, and He quoted it, using it to defeat the enemy. He told us more than once that He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.
Jesus read from the Torah and prophets(note: very different from what we call a Bible!!). He fulfilled it yes... so why then are so many still hanging onto it??? Surely fulfilment means finally, period, finished, that's all folks! NOT: ...ok, well I really want you to go and write a book and print it 1500 years from now... and follow that instead...oh, and if some dudes in funky clothing stand up and say that they have a new interpretation of those writings, then I recommend you follow them as well...
Yet that is what it has become. Either He is the fulfilment or he is not, either He is the fulfilment, or we still have to rely upon a written law.

My comments about "dead-tree" were not to be disregarding nor disrespectful (although I can see how it can be read that way), but rather to point out that many trees are felled in order promote this "best-seller", at what I see as a very dubious benefit to mankind. If we are destroying creation in order to indoctrinate ourselves, then that is a sad indictment of our condition and care for the world around us and the future our children look forward to.

No condemnation! I love that you have written what you believe here Phoebe, and so I also have done so. I love you too. I hope that you can take what I have written here, and question, question, question. Question why, how, when, and what. Because I have done that questioning myself, and these are the answers that I have reached. I used to be an ardent believer in the "Bible is THE WORD OF GOD" doctrine that is preached from most pulpits. Until I began to see that the reason that that particularly errant doctrine is preached is one of control. The control falls into the hands of those with the "superior knowledge and interpretation", and no prizes for guessing whom that may be. So I questioned the Bible itself. I searched, and found it did not meet the point of view of being THE WORD. In fact, as you pointed out, it called Jesus the Word. That led to all the other stuff I pointed out... the illogical stance on literacy and time that the Institution relies upon to keep us in check.

So I don't want to dismiss out of hand something that you love, but rather ask you to question yourself and it...why do I believe this...does it stack up? ((((Phoebe))))

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 10, 2010 02:59AM
Hi there
I haven't written for ages - just keep lurking about and reading but feel strongly enough about this to add my 10 cents worth. (Don't have smaller coins any longer in NZ so that's as low as they go).

Reading your post Phoebe I felt a kind of vice tightening around my head - an indication that I felt stressed and that the yoke of your post felt really burdensome to me. Remember this is about ME not YOU. I can't fit myself into the box of your interpretation of scripture. That is how I see it - what you write is every bit an interpretation of what you read in scripture which is itself an interpretation by whoever put that translation of the bible together.

Yes it sounds like semantics but feel very aligned to what Onyx wrote. And I feel there are contradictions in what you write Phoebe. However again that's a comment about me not you.

I am at a point in my journey with God where I am drawn more and more to Jesus as THE WAY yet have less and less certainty about all the beliefs, dogma and doctrines (including scriptural interpretations) that have traditionally gone along with being a believer. You know the statements of beliefs that require us to sign on the dotted line. Sometimes my lack of certainty scares me to bits but if God is a god of infinite love God can cope with where I am at without needing to punish me. I just need to keep living the journey that is Christ - in Him we live and move and have our being.....

Love Gill
Anonymous User
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 10, 2010 01:50PM
I'm not offended by what either of you has written. But I am withdrawing myself for some quiet time to think and pray. I don't feel a need to defend myself or my position. I am praying for clarity of thought and courage to follow my heart. I am praying it for all of us. The Lord has many many ways in which to speak to us,and I am counting on Him to do just that.
BFN See ya
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 10, 2010 07:15PM
((((Phoebe)))) Like you, I pray he speaks to us all. You will be missed, little bird!

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 13, 2010 10:48PM
I too often wonder the "high place" the written word has been given and then the low place we have been living in this thing called the IC?

When you think about it we all have leaned pretty well on the "book" for so long why could we think there is anything more or missed that we could have done? maybe because we have so for so long "leaned" and not walked... Talked but not walked... Judged but not loved?


Hmmmm
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 14, 2010 04:41AM
Quote
Darin Hufford in The Misunderstood God
We have built our theology on a rude God who says, "Do it because I said so." It's a safeguard against anyone who dares to ask why. We do this with the Bible more than anything else....Christianity has injected a "because the Bible says so" clause into the hearts of modern-day Christians in an effort to cause them to give up individual thinking and blindly accept anything without question. To even ask "why" regarding the verse is misinterpreted as doubt...

Amen, Darin, couldn't have said it better myself! (BTW, just reading this book, and it is very good! Highly recommended as a follow up to anyone prepared to question what they believe.

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 14, 2010 03:29PM
Onyx, I love this book. I am a little over half way through it. Had to restart it because I got busy with life.

Podcasts Here is the web page that contains several podcasts on
"Misconceptions about the Bible" there is a total of 7 podcast. Really a good series.
Hope it helps someone, it is enlightening.

News flash:
God is not angry with you. He loves you.
If you don't believe that,
or think it's too good to be true,
or that I'm making it up - ask Him! smiling smiley
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 16, 2010 05:39PM
Back from vacation and reading this thread, and so so sorry Phoebe is gone for now. Hope fervently it is only for a time. I know how Phoebe feels about the Bible, and shared most of those same thoughts. I felt sort of personally hurt when people would say the Bible wasn't very important to them, because I felt they were putting me and my love for the Bible down. Also felt it hurt God's feelings that his book wasn't loved and revered. I thought it was dangerous for us believers not to be in it.

I decided to just keep an open mind to what people were saying on TGJ and FBN and here. Try to hear their hearts. Found myself reading my Bible less offten, because what used to be my "quiet time" was now spent online, reading & responding to my new "family". Felt guilty when I'd go a whole week without reading my Bible. Decided to accept that this was a phase I'm going thru & maybe will come out of in Papa's time.

Heard thoughts like Onyx's well-said ones above and altho a bit shocked at first, considered them and found truth there. I don't think most people come into a relationship with God thru reading the Bible. As you pointed out, Onyx, what about all the people before the printing press was invented, the people who can't read, the people in countries where the Bible is forbidden or scarce, etc.? All of them found God in their hearts. Still, I don't believe we as God's children would even know we are God's children if the Bible didn't say so.

Most of us "free believers" came out of religion, where we learned to know the Bible well, but we also ingested a lot of human interpretation and twisting of its meaning, and this is what we are now rejecting, not the heart of God that's there on every page.

It's not about what we are against, but Who we are for... and Who is for us.
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 16, 2010 08:05PM
((((Shelley)))) nice to see you back! Have a good break?

Yes, it's a contentious issue, that is one of the biggest sacred cows of Contemporary Christianity...listen to Christians for ten minutes and count the number of times they hark to the Bible as the Word of God...and yet I think it would be "nice" to believe that again...it requires less of us, as I think we rely upon it for relationship with him; at least I did. Now I am learning to listen for his voice in every day life; talking to people, playing with my kids, looking at the sunset...and it makes me feel free, as I see his beauty, that is not trapped within the pages. Darrin also has a lot to say about it, as Toni points out.

Blessings upon you, friends, as you follow Him into life!

Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.
- Lenny Bruce
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 17, 2010 12:43AM
I had a WONDERFUL break! My mom and I went to Sanibel Island, Florida, which is the SEASHELL capital of the US.Happy Dance One of the things we did in the evenings instead of watching tv was, I read "The Misunderstood God" out loud to her and we talked about it. Some great discussions! She is an enthusiastic churchgoer and totally respects that I'm not, as I respect her involvement and love for her church.

This discussion about the Bible has been very thought provoking for me. I read all the posts to my husband and we talked about it. I really like what Gill said:
Quote
Gillse
Sometimes my lack of certainty scares me to bits but if God is a god of infinite love God can cope with where I am at without needing to punish me. I just need to keep living the journey that is Christ - in Him we live and move and have our being.....
and what Onyx said:
Quote
Onyx
Now I am learning to listen for his voice in every day life; talking to people, playing with my kids, looking at the sunset...and it makes me feel free, as I see his beauty, that is not trapped within the pages.
and what Lionhearted said:
Quote
LH
maybe because we have so for so long "leaned" and not walked... Talked but not walked... Judged but not loved?
I'm glad I know you people who think like this.
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 17, 2010 01:33AM




Hope you all are well .



Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 17, 2010 05:18PM
That's pretty good! "The Bible is not a guidebook, it's a grace book."
Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 17, 2010 11:13PM
smiling smiley

I guess i know what the bible can do . so i'm a little wary of it that's all .

Hope you all are well .



Re: Best Seller - Worst Reader
March 18, 2010 07:40PM
I don't know why, but that video made me cry. Thank you for sharing it. Crying for Joy SOOOO Good - water to my soul today.
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