I’ve started reading a few popular blogs run by prominent Christian women, and I’ve noticed that nearly every post made by these ladies always circles back around to scripture as the primary foundation for their stance (whatever it may be). I do understand this – I mean, if you’re whole angle is that of a “Christian blogger” then it would make sense that most of what you write about is linked as directly to the Bible as possible. However, in reading several of these posts I couldn’t help but notice the differences in my own writing on spiritual topics when compared to others. I am not one of those Christians who feels required to go back and find a passage in the Bible to back up every thought, action, and belief. This probably is rooted in the fact that growing up, the Bible wasn’t a guide for daily “right” living, or a source for how I should view the world. I was taught to feel empathy and compassion for others, I was taught love, and I was taught the difference between what is right and what is wrong, what is just and what is evil, all without ever cracking the Bible open even once. In my home as a child the Bible was equivalent to Aesop’s Fables – it had stories in them that could be entertaining and morally enlightening, but we were never told to believe in those words as hardcore literal truths. Rather, my little sister and I were encouraged to learn as much as we could about whatever interested us. I can lovingly recall the numerous trips my mom took us on to libraries, natural history museums, civil war battlefields/monuments, parks, and the like. There was never a moment in my youth where I was ever chided or reprimanded from pursuing any personal or intellectual interest. Since my childhood was colored not with churches, Bible studies, and Sunday schools, my viewpoints were formed on a foundation completely independent of religious influence. And that is just how I continue to operate.
When I form an opinion about what is right and what is wrong I don’t ever refer back to what the Bible says or doesn’t say regarding any situation. It just simply is not the way my brain has ever operated. I don’t need the Bible to tell me how to treat people or how to lead an ethical life – I already know how to do that. It’s how I was raised and how I’ve lived my whole life. Attempting to try and refer back to the Bible for every opinion now would seem forced, silly, and unnecessary for me personally. My writing here on this blog isn’t any different. There are certainly situations or topics where Bible references would certainly be necessary or useful to better illustrate a point, especially if it’s a subject directly tied to the Bible’s contents, and I have certainly done this in past posts. But for me to justify my positions on feminism, poverty, climate change, or marriage equality? I don’t need scripture to back me up on any of that. As a blogger who writes primarily on spirituality and theology, who also happens to be an (Eclectic) Episcopalian, I do not feel that it is at all necessary to link everything back to the Bible.
Please do not misunderstand me and think that I am trying to insult other Christian bloggers by saying they’re small or narrow-minded in their writing or worldviews because of their reliance on the Bible. There are some truly unique and interesting viewpoints out there, women bloggers who are amazing writers and whose opinions I love reading and find myself often agreeing with, who refer back to scripture in nearly every piece of writing they produce. That is not at all my intention. There is nothing wrong with using the Bible to help justify your stance, especially if the audience you are writing for holds a great deal of stock in what the Bible says and use it themselves to help guide their own lives. There’s nothing wrong with using the Bible to help make your point when you’re coming at a situation from the perspective of a Christian writer. There is no wrong here.
The questions I want to pose are these: Can you have a valid opinion and perspective on any given topic without using scripture? Can you validate your viewpoint without the Bible? Does the conclusion that you reach have to be in total agreement with the Bible? Why or why not? Is it helpful to your spiritual and personal growth to place specific parameters on your religious points of reference? I believe these are all completely valid questions to ask of other Christians, writer or not, and I would find it interesting to see what the answers might be.
Never be afraid to explore and branch out, to keep discovering and keep learning, to push against walls until they break, and peek behind as many doors as you can open. Never be afraid to ask questions. You never know what little spark will set your spirit on fire.
+ K +