“God isn’t a literacy coach.”That’s the message I heard from my mom one afternoon during college while we were talking on the phone.
I was pacing around outside the public library, and talking about how I sometimes (make that often) had trouble reading the Bible.
Opening it was a scary thing for me, because of the expectations I imposed on myself when I did so (for more on this theme, see my satire on Psalms and on the Checklist for Heaven).
How long should I read? What if I didn’t “get anything” out of what I read? What if I wasn’t living up to it? And what if I just plain didn’t feel like reading?
That’s when the wisdom concerning the literacy coach came in. In Western Christianity, we like to make faith an intellectual pursuit. We attend church to hear about the original Greek Scriptures, take fancy notes, and teach little ones about the importance of reading the Bible every day.
It’s like we see God as a literacy coach, demanding to know how many hours of reading we’ve logged every week, how many pages we’ve thumbed.
But like my mom said, that’s not who God is.
He’s the God who walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the Garden, and the God who ate with tax collectors, the God who doesn’t fear sin like it’s the bogey man (because He’s already defeated it).
This God isn’t logging my chapters or even my prayers. He wants to be with me throughout the day, whether I’m cleaning the house or listening to music (even non-Christian).
Recently, my mom encouraged me to introduce poetry into my time with God. I relax and eat lunch with Jesus. And instead of sweating over the Scriptures, I pray and write a poem with it, often a found poem.
It’s been really cool so far, seeing how God speaks through writing poetry. And it makes reading the Bible a lot less scary.
So, while God is a good many things, He’s not my literacy coach. But, as this incredible world shows, He is a great poet.
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