Early in his presidency, Donald Trump influenced my reading habits. More recently, the religious people he hangs with have influenced and increased my Bible reading. In the past I let things roll off without much thought when listening to religious leaders. Now, when I hear scripture used to make a point, it’s an automatic red flag, and I go immediately to that passage to read it in context. To my repeated surprise, the text rarely means what is being justified.
So, I say thank you to Paula White-Cain, Robert Jeffress, and Franklin Graham, for inspiriting me to think more critically about the Bible, a text I grew up with, and that has informed my thinking in ways I probably don’t fully understand.
Over the years, I sometimes watched preachers do mental gymnastics in efforts to resolve hard passages, usually with less than satisfying results. While it’s good to use the Bible and other inspired writing as sources for wisdom, we’d better approach these texts with humility and an awareness that our understanding is flawed at best.
The three I’m referring to in this post tend to approach the Bible as a tool to rationalize their political ends. Thankfully they’re not very good at it if one takes the time to sleuth the context of passages they quote. Sadly, many still believe them with automatic “amens,” “praise the lords,” and hopes of material or political gain.