I had a conversation with a good friend the other week about the blog posts I was writing, specifically the ones about feasting and sex and other aspects of ancient worship that are surprising to a modern viewpoint. We wandered on to related sections of scripture which I didn't mention in those posts, like the story of Judah and Tamar which carries the idea of shrine prostitution as a plot point (I'll get to writing about that one some day).
Her reaction was partly surprised and partly incredulous. She seemed not to know what to make of these topics in the Bible.
My response to her was ... the Bible is not a candy-coated book. It is often very raw, a fact which it doesn't even pretend to be coy about.
And that's a good thing.
Because, and maybe you've noticed this already, life isn't candy-coated either.
Everything that happens in the Bible, every kind of terrible thing, still happens now. Murder? Yes. Rape? Dear me, yes. All kinds of violence, actually. All kinds of thievery, from the personal to the national. Every sort of rotten family situation, with consequences spelled out in painful detail. Abandonment and abuse. Every kind of prejudice, including racial prejudice. Slavery. Torture. Loss. Grief. Terrible sickness and suffering.
Frankly, most of those subjects get treated before you make it out of book number one.
You name it, any kind of terrible thing, and it's represented somewhere in the Hebrew bible. Which means, the Bible has something to say to all of those situations.
Which means God has something to say about all of those situations.
Does he overlook a single one of them? Nope. He put them right in his book, to make sure we know it and know what he has to say regarding them.
The Bible is a raw, real-life kind of book. Which at some points makes it very hard to read. Sometimes it means I don't know what to make of it. But that's fine. I love that the Bible is a real-life kind of book; we badly need it to be.