You know what I’m a little tired of?
The word “literally”. I am literally tired of the word literally.
But so is everybody else. Especially when it’s misused.
“It was so funny I was literally dying!” No you weren’t. You were laughing. Use better English
So yeah, overusing “literally” in common speech is annoying.
But you know what concerns me even more? (And will possibly get me some hate mail…)
Overusing “literally” when talking about faith. More specifically, the Bible.
There are many Christians who read the Bible “literally”, like a book of facts. Like the answer key for everything. A Book that has no discrepancies and no falsehoods.
I understand why people are attracted to that form of faith. It means putting your faith in one source, one place in the whole world where human infallibility can’t corrupt.
The Bible becomes an anchor of singular truth, cast down from God to keep the faithful from drowning in a world of chaos.
I kind of get that. It sounds easier than the doggy paddling my faith must do from time to time.
But here’s what I wonder: What use is imagination if the Bible requires none? Or doubt, for that matter, in the face of the literal truth? Why did God give us discerning brains but then lay it all out for us at face value?
Why, after all, do human beings need the Bible to be, from cover to cover, literally true?
I, for one, think the Bible is indeed inspired by God, but written through many different people, in a variety of cultures and settings.
I think the Bible contains life shaping instruction and wisdom, but that it has to to be fleshed out with my whole being. My mind, my traditions, even my experiences.
I don’t think of the Bible as a Fact book, filled with one unerring detail after another, but rather as a Truth book–to be uncovered and interpreted–even argued with!
By reducing my use of the word “literally” when talking about the Bible, it means the Good Book is to be used in conjunction with the rest of my life, not hovering over it, set apart from it. It becomes the supreme faith tool, not just an answer key.
Living faithfully without the “literal” tag means a life with more uncertainty, more wrestling, and more searching for God throughout the world.
And I literally wouldn’t want it any other way.
Have a Good Week,