Going to see live music is just part of the fabric of life in Nashville. At one point, while I was trying to sell myself as a music producer I was getting 6-10 show invites a week in my inbox. Going to all the shows is financial suicide; death by cover charge and PBR. But the night I met Alex and Rachel I was out to see a close friend of mine play drums with his new band. “The End” is an interesting little joint. It has all the trappings of a dive bar; the dim lighting, the poster-littered walls, and the big ole’ sound guy who’s been there since country was cool the first time. That particular night it seemed like all of the hipsters were in a swank match to see who could have the skinnier jeans and the more artsy fedora. The room felt like a Hollywood caricature of the Nashville Scene. Like some director filled the room with pretty people straight out of an urban outfitters catalogue. I remember thinking, “Where are all of these people in real life? I never see them out in the wild”.
Alex and Rachel were one of those unbelievably good looking couples. We began chatting while the stage was being reset for the next band. There was small talk for a bit and then I happened to ask how the two of them met.
Later that week, I received an email informing me I could make a profile and try a free weekend on one of the online dating sites. I gave it a shot. I went out with Erica, the feisty sarcastic hairdresser who was slightly less attractive than profile pictures lead me to believe; Angie, the nanny who tried to get me in bed after the first date; and Danielle, the bartender who would have been perfect if she knew as much about Jesus as she did about Jersey Shore. I decided three strikes were enough for me. That was the end of my online dating adventures.
The thing about the online approach is that while a profile page can give you a picture of someone, tell you about them, let you know how much you have in common; a profile is not in and of itself a relationship. It leaves much to be desired. The inflections of a voice, the gentle touch of their skin, the goodness in their eyes are the things you cannot experience from a website.
And so I ask this question. I wonder if Scripture is like God’s E-Harmony page to humanity. Move past the obvious irony and consider it for a moment. The written word gives us a picture of who God is, but it is not the relationship itself. It’s a starting point but not and end unto itself. John tells us the “Word” has existed since the beginning. It was the Word that brought creation to life and that same Word that became humanity and gave up His life to redeem the very creation He once formed. To “obey” the Word is to follow Christ. Not Just a historical figure but rather the essence of truth and love that was embodied in Jesus and has existed throughout time.
Is the written Word profitable for doctrine and reproof and correction and instruction in righteousness? Yes. But I submit to you the idea that maybe we could view this written Word as a diving board into a deep pool of relationship. Forgive me for my harshness here but I am beginning to believe the reason we as believers strive so hard for dogma and doctrine is because the idea of a truly relational God by proxy of the Holy Spirit in our lives is scary.
Do you believe your God is big enough to care about you and your specific situation to speak to you in a real way? Is the Heavenly Father you pray to more than some cosmic pen pal who wrote us a letter 2000 years ago and hasn’t responded since because He assumes all we need to know is written in the first letter? I have a hard time believing that. Either God is alive and well and breathing and moving and desperately longing to have an intimate relationship with His beloved or He’s not.
The God I know is wildly imaginative, insatiably personal, eternally relational and in no way stoic, formulaic or mathematical. Do you want the 66 book e-harmony pocket edition Jesus or do you want the fullness? Brother, Sister, I implore you ... hear what I am saying. The Word of God is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. All of it. So yes! Take in all that scripture has to offer. Let it be a firm foundation for your faith.