Yesterday I ended with the statement of how important AND limited our “containers” are. They are important because they provide a structure of our lives and our thinking. The container is made of the rules, regulations, and ideas of our early authorities. These gave us our start and allowed us to make sense of the world at that time. But unless we want to continue to hold onto that perspective, we must update these messages to a more mature, internalized understanding. That is, we must begin to fill our container with newer stuff. And this new stuff, hopefully, reflects who we are as maturing adults.

childrens bibleFor me, one such container is the Bible. For a Southern Baptist kid growing up in a preacher’s home in East Texas, the Bible was right behind air, food, and water in importance. I memorized the 66 books of the Bible, I memorized scripture and got certificates and badges to prove it, I could find any text in a matter of seconds without consulting the index. Leading Bible studies for high school kids when I was a youth minister provided me with some of my most meaningful experiences as a young adult.

The Bible as a container has changed for me a great deal over those years, from something to be memorized to something to be internalized, from knowing facts to understanding meaning, from a source to give me answers to one that deepens my questions. And that process continues.

I realized how much my views of the Bible had evolved when recently a friend on Facebook expressed concern that I had “abandoned the authority of the Bible.”

Because I did not agree with his Biblical perspective on a particular topic, he assumed I no longer valued the words and teachings. Knowing we would not come to an agreement on the issue, I simply assured him that I had not abandoned the authority of the Bible, but that clearly we read and understood the Bible in different ways. I gave a couple of examples using verses he cited, and then left it at that.

It’s useless to argue about containers, because they are constructed of pretty rigid stuff. Comparing contents, the things we have learned and the things we continue to question, that is what deepens and transforms.