Thoughts About the Bible


Before I had children, I never thought it was possible to love anyone more than I loved DH. I mean, granted, ours was never an epic, love-conquers-all type of sweeping love. But it was good, sweet and comfortable. The kind of love that lasts and survives the indignities of ten thousands of days and nights. I didn’t want drama or romance. I wanted steady and good. And that is what I have in DH.

So, with that in mind, that you know, we weren’t epically enthralled with one another… I took one look at each of my children after they were born and they immediately surpassed anyone else in the entire universe in terms of my love. It’s not that I love DH less, (although it kind of works out that way), it’s just that I love my children more. I never knew my love could expand into such a fierce, unconditional force that wills itself into being.

Now, when I think of babies in orphanages or broken homes (did you know that babies will stop crying because eventually they learn that no one will respond to them so they just sink into an alarming silence and stare blankly), I just want to weep. When I look at my babies and hold them and snuggle with them, I just cannot imagine anyone willfully harming or not loving any child. Grown ups, yes. They are prickly and horrible and not all that lovable. But it’s so crazy to me that even the most horrible person started off as an infant – so perfect and sweet.

The other day, I was talking to a friend of mine and he mentioned that loving and taking care of children is in line with what Jesus commands as loving the poor and the “least of these.” After all, babies have nothing, cannot feed, clothe or care for themselves, and are completely dependent upon the mercy of their parents or caregivers. It is a heavy and heady responsibility that I am only too glad to do. But it is still crazy.

And to think, that as much as I love my children, that God’s love is deeper, wider, higher than even that. (Is that even possible? Yes, I suppose it is. How humbling! And how comforting!)

I remember distinctly a few years ago, one of my friend’s just had her first child. She was a successful optometrist but she took one look at her baby and knew, just knew, that she was meant to be a mother and that she no longer wanted to work. This was a woman who loved her career and made damn good money doing it, yet she put that all on hold because she wanted to be a SAHM for her son. I thought she was crazy. I just assumed that I would follow in my mother’s footsteps and work.

Well, I had DS and took one look at his beautiful face and knew, just knew, that I was meant to be a mommy and I wouldn’t want to do or be anything else. Two years and another beautiful baby later and that is still the case. In fact, I’m already plotting the third and fourth babies.

I know my mother had to work (you know, those pesky mortgages and needing to put food on the table and clothes on the kids) and would also have gone crazy if she had to stay at home. I also know that my brother and I had a great time being latch-key kids. We basically watched TV for hours every afternoon/evening and became very self-sufficient and independent. But I will admit that I envied my friends who came home to mommies that had snacks and hugs and were involved with the PTA (God forbid!) and were present.

I want my kids to know that type of security (and perhaps even chafe at it sometimes). I want our home to be the place that their friends come over and eat all our food and watch our TV and play our toys and whatnot. I want our home to be hospitable and generous and safe. I wanted so much to have a safe haven when I was growing up – I want that for our kids (and for their friends).

The thought of making a warm home to all folks makes me so happy and glowy. It is a dream come true.

So, what am I looking for in a church? Several things:

1) Teaching of the Word – I’m not so much interested in what topics in particular, but how the church/pastor goes about it. Does the pastor choose a topic and then cherrypicks throughout the Bible to find passages that support his theory? (I particularly HATE this method because the passages are often taken out of context and seriously, in this case, I could make a case for many a weird and horrible thing.)

Personally, I’ve always preferred preaching/teaching that starts with a block of text and then expounds on that. What is the author of this Bible passage trying to tell us about God? What are some interesting things that might not have occurred to me about this passage? And of course, most importantly, how can this be applied to my life? Because without that final application, it doesn’t matter how many godly things I may learn about. My life will not change.

2) Diversity in the congregations – This can take on many forms. The church can be diverse in age, race, socio-economic background, immigration status, etc. I find that I am most comfortable with the diversity in race and age. I’m not as comfortable with different classes. That’s just to say that I’m an elitist. *sigh*

3) People I like – It’s shallow but what’s the point of growing in a community of people if you don’t like the people? (Not that you can’t be a jerk and start off hating everybody and then growing and changing and liking people. But you know, I’m not a jerk. At least, not always.)

4) Community Growth – It’s a bit of a combo between 1 and 3. I really miss the inductive Bible studies from my college days. (Can you believe it’s been over a decade already? Gosh, I feel so old sometimes.) I have enjoyed studying books with groups of people. Even when I have to constantly stifle my inner critic and elitist and force myself not to judge the people based on the quality or lack thereof (in my personal opinion) of the discussion. After all, that is just character growth because, as I’ve mentioned, I can be somewhat of a jackass.

5) Children’s Program – Most churches I think will do just fine in this department. Nothing like a bunch of Sunday School kids and curriculum. Although, I think I will be one of those annoying parents that will have trained their kids to constantly question things. I have a beef with some children’s programs, but it’s truly tough. (Mostly, I hate the way the Bible is taught – but I suppose it has to be age appropriate. But why is the mass genocide of Noah’s flood recast as a cute zoo exhibit? I find that exceedingly creepy.)

Anyhow, those are just the things that stick out to me. What about you guys? Anything in particular you look for in a church (or place of worship)?