Archives for February 2018

A Note from Josh – Center Newsletter, February 2018

If you can tell me who Lilith is from the bible without looking it up or reading the rest of this blog post I will buy you a cup of coffee at any Nashville coffee shop… The other day I was at trivia with a couple of friends and there was a literature question about Lilith. My friend said, “Isn’t she from the bible.” I responded, “I don’t think so.” Turns out, she is. There I was, a pastor, seminary graduate, follower of Jesus, and I didn’t even know a character from our sacred, divinely inspired, God breathed, scriptures. It was embarrassing. I didn’t grow up going to Sunday school every week. Most of my knowledge of the bible has come from the past decade of life. I learned very few bible stories during my childhood. I could tell you all about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, and Beast Wars, but had little to offer about Abraham, Isaac, or Miriam. My childhood was filled with characters from early morning cartoons, not the bible.

As a freshman in college I was required to take a New Testament Survey course. During one lecture the professor referenced that a man had died from touching the Ark of the Covenant as he tried to save it from falling when the oxen who carried it stumbled. He reached out to save it and was struck dead for touching the thing. (1 Chronicles 13:9-12) Upon hearing this story quickly referenced, as if everyone was familiar, I raised my hand and before I was given permission to speak I blurted out, “Excuse me, what did you just say?” Immediately, I looked it up in my bible. After reading it, I sat there confused about who God was, and why that man had to die for touching the VERY holy God box from hitting the ground.

I went to visit a few college students last week in Texas. At the end of one of my coffee dates I asked how I could be praying for the student I was meeting with. He responded, “Pray I am more disciplined.” He then asked if I had any daily devotional recommendations. If you have ever struggled with being disciplined in the faith, and purchased a devotional as a remedy, you know that typically the effort, though well intentioned, ends up birthing a few days of consistency, followed by a couple weeks of inconsistency, ending in another devotional sitting on your bookshelf, most every page unread, collecting dust. I suggested he read What is the bible? How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything by Rob Bell. I chose this book because I believe it can be read daily as a devotional, but also because I believe it will inspire people. Most people need to be inspired to be disciplined, more than just mustering up an extra portion of self-will. Bell does a phenomenal job of summarizing much what I learned about how to think about, read, and live in light of the bible throughout my undergraduate and seminary experience.

I am still surprised by the bible. A new character or story gets brought up and, along with my anxiety, my curiosity about the book is peaked and I begin to search the pages looking for information, inspiration, and peace. Within my ignorance and anxiety there is a lot of potential. I hope the bible isn’t boring to you. I hope you find yourself curious about the bible’s content. I hope you are still surprised by the bible. If not, check out this book and let’s chat.


Lilith is a night demon that the prophet Isaiah references in Isaiah 34:14.

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