Yesterday morning, I read a book review that came out a couple days ago:
“Repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish.”
It piqued my interest for three reasons.
- Use of the word “sententious” (sucker for a good word)
- The book was the Bible
I almost threw in my real-job work towel in favor of jumping into the boxing ring with the reviewer. I know, I know – I hate the hypocrisy of the church, yet me wanting to pummel someone and/or getting enraged about the Bible is clearly not so churchy either.
But in the spirit of me loving good words, let’s replace the word “church” (forevermore if I have anything to do with it) with the word “Christians.” I hate the hypocrisy of Christians…Wait, no good.
Let’s replace the word “Christians” with the word “people.” I hate the hypocrisy of people. Ah, better.
Not a big fan of people’s hypocrisy. And I venture to bet, neither are you. Therein lies the problem with today’s brick and mortar “churches” – they are just buildings that contain people.
People like you and me.
THE WORST THING WE CAN DO IN THIS WORLD IS LABEL A NOUN.
You know, the thing we learned back in primary school – a person, place, thing, or idea…yada yada yada, some sing-song-y jingle…and a verb is an action word.
Here’s the thing: OUR VERBS ALWAYS MESS UP OUR NOUNS.
Our actions always mess up our people.
But the why is always the same. The recipe goes something like this:
- Some person feels insecure or empty because of something they have been through growing up or are presently going through. (It’s typically indistinguishable, as the same hurts are often just repackaged with different labels and resurface at various points in life.)
- Said person needs to feel better STAT! about themselves
- Person seeks out another person/people to make them feel worthy
- This seeking is thinly-veiled at best, i.e. Facebook post, “I have really been struggling with X lately” and awaiting the subsequent obligatory barrages of “You’re amazing!”
- Or – totally manipulative at worst, i.e. “Can you believe all these other people who have had affairs? No way would I ever do that to my husband/wife,” said one friend to the other opposite-gender friend.
- Temporary feelings of self-worth are reestablished
- Life goes on
- Repeat Step 1 above
I know this with every ounce of my being because I have been on both sides of that equation, on that never-ending, arduous, painful roller-coaster of a ride, for more years of my life than I am proud of.
Realizing that roller-coasters are thrilling at first, but then make you puke if you stay on them long enough – I stopped.
I stopped (verb) allowing the feelings and labels define me. ‘Cause guess what? Feelings and labels come from people. Including (oftentimes, mostly) ourselves.
I’ve never been to GQ’s building location in NYC. But I know this without even seeing it: inside its posh and swank offices are people. Thus, GQ’s statement about the Bible should not come as a surprise. Some person said it.
Don’t get me wrong, I still rolled my eyes and thought it was ridiculous. I mean, call me old-fashioned or a lover of the classics, but any publication entitled, “Gentleman’s Quarterly” that lists “Charges of Sexism” (Whaaa, seriously? No way. You’ve GOT to be joking. I did NOT see that coming.) in its historical description and then goes on to explain why the Bible is on its list of books that are unnecessary to read needs a copy of the Old Testament for sure, and probably 1 Timothy 2:12 printed out in neon font and framed.
Or maybe the people there just need a dictionary. Repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, and foolish are just adjectives being used hypocritically improperly.
While I love people as an obvious extrovert, I also know that people are all jacked up. All the time. You, me, literally all of us.
Sure, sometimes our packaging and our life circumstances make people respond (verb) to us differently, make them think (verb) and judge (verb) and see (verb) us differently – but it’s literally the same picture.
And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather view that picture through the lens of God than the lens of GQ.