"You can't take your faith too seriously," one of my wife's relatives said to me. "Sure, it's good to have. It's important. But there's faith and then there's the day-to-day real life."
I asked this person to explain the difference.
"Well, it's like how you want to teach people about the Bible. You can't take it for what it says because a lot of stuff has changed since then. Now we've got electricity, indoor plumbing, medicine, and stuff like that."
I asked if those things really made a difference.
"Sure they do!" she replied. "Times have changed, so the best thing to do is relate the Bible to real life today. I hope you do that when you're a pastor."
Having just met this person, I didn't feel like explaining why, if I ever became a pastor, she probably wouldn't enjoy most of my sermons.
I'll admit I don't get out much. I go to work, church, band practice, and occasionally a two-for-one night somewhere. So I actually appreciate having conversations like the one I just described because it tells me something of the cultural view of Christianity.
My wife's relative, for example, showed me how people still possess what C.S. Lewis called "Chronological Snobbery". Her argument seemed to say people who didn't know about electricity and penicillin were obviously ignorant. How could we take their inferior wisdom so seriously as to believe the Bible for what it says?
Just because people in ancient Israel believed both A: The Bible was God's word to man and B: the sun rotated around the earth does not mean belief A loses credibility in light of Copernicus.
Having said this, I do think we should discuss how we can apply the Bible to our lives in the present day. Philosopher Francis Schaeffer once said, "Each generation of the church in each setting has the responsibility of communicating the gospel in understandable terms, considering the language and thought-forms of that setting." I believe I'm better equipped to do this if I know more about the language and thought-forms of my surroundings.
Now's your chance to help me out. In one sentence (if possible), tell me what you think about the Bible and/or Christianity.