I pastor in Portland, Oregon. Here most identify as “spiritual, but not religious.” It’s not that people aren’t interested in spiritual things. Spiritual interest is everywhere.
I’ve sat in conversation with people actively looking for direction in The Secret, Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle, and A Course in Miracles. It’s common to hear people talk about the ancient spiritual wisdom of Buddhism, or Judaism, or the native Americans, or the modern spiritual guidance of personal growth seminars like the Landmark Forum.
While people are open to diverse sources of spiritual guidance like these, over and over I hear people say the Bible just doesn’t work for them. What’s more, I hear the same thing from Christians!
- The Bible’s too complicated.
- It’s hard to know what applies and what doesn’t.
- It’s controversial.
- It’s from another time and culture that doesn’t relate to our modern world.
- It doesn’t hold attention.
I couldn’t disagree more. Here’s the short version. I got tired of hearing people say they just can’t understand the Bible, and I decided to do what I could to help.
Maybe we’ve been reading it wrong?
The Protestant Reformation made the Bible available to anyone who wants one. Now we face a different problem. People have experienced so many roadblocks with the Bible they don’t even open it anymore.
As a follower of Jesus, I have been so moved and shaped by the Bible. Heroes of mine, people who made significant impact in this world like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and countless others found their path through the Bible.
Yes, the Bible is complicated. Yes, it has a history of being used badly. Yes, it has difficult, controversial even painful things in it. But it’s also been a source of meaning and spiritual growth for so many people.
It’s my belief that power doesn’t come from the book itself. Those words aren’t just spiritual counsel collected over time. The pages and stories of the Bible are a meeting place. When a seeking heart shows up there, God shows up too.
Too often we read the Bible to prove a point. We read it to learn doctrine. Or maybe we read it because we’re supposed to. Reading the Bible for meaning and spiritual growth. Simply being present to God in scripture is a lost art.
Can I share what I’ve learned with you?
I’d like to change that for anyone who is willing to give it a try. I’ve spend more than eighteen years helping people tackle this amazing, complex book. In that time I’ve heard probably every complaint, obstacle or roadblock that gets in the way for folks. I wrestled with my own issues with the Bible and how to use it in my life. I’ve seen which issues matter, and which ones are just distractions.
Over the years this experience has come together in a framework that helps put the focus where it counts: On reading scripture to hear God and grow.
I’ve taught this framework to individuals and groups. I’ve used it in my personal journey and for message preparation. I’ve seen people use these tools and find the Bible to be a life-giving part of their spiritual journey, leading them to a deeper and more engaged relationship with God. If you’ve struggled with the Bible, I want to share what I’ve learned with you.
So that’s the new project I’ve been working on this summer. I’m taking this material and putting it together in an online course. I’m planning to launch before the end of the year.
An Online Course?
The course will include over 30 hours of teaching in an easy-to-use online learning environment. Each module will include video, recorded webinar-style presentations with audio and slides, written teaching, a variety of interactive learning tools, directed exercises so you can practice the tools, and downloadable material. It will be everything you need to feel confident that you can spend time with the Bible, and have it positively impact your life and relationship with God.
I’m eager to try my hand at this. I’m a teacher at heart, and I love when I can help people solve a problem and grow. I’m also a big technology nerd. So the opportunity to combine these two things is exciting for me.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing various sneak peeks at some of the class content here on my blog. If you’re wanting to learn more, there’s a landing page explaining the course. You can also opt-in for pre-release information.
Opt in and you’ll get three benefits.
- Of course, you’ll get first notice when the course opens, so you can get involved right away.
- You’ll also be eligible for an invitation to the first beta test group. This small group will go through the material with me, helping me refine it and work out the bugs. The beta testers will get the course for free along with life-time access.
- Others who opt-in for information, but don’t want to beta test, will get a 50% discount on whatever the launch price ends up being.
Getting comfortable with scripture is foundational for your growth.
Here at www.MarcAlanSchelske.com, I write about how to live an intentional spiritual life from a Christian perspective. I share lots of tips you can use, and try to make you think about your life in a whole new way. But, as a follower of Jesus, the fundamental tool for meaning and growth will always be the Bible. So, I’m looking forward to adding this to the resources available to you here.
I believe the Bible is a powerful and positive tool God will use in your life to help you mature and deepen. I believe that even with the complexities in the Bible, you can navigate its pages and find encouragement, guidance and a deeper connection to God. I’ve seen it happen in my own life, and in the lives of other people. I know you can find meaning in the Bible without being a legalist, a theology professor or a crackpot!