Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lori Told Every Detail...Just Get Me to the Point!

When Lori and I were growing up, we lived about 25 minutes from school, and mom would invariably ask what happened in our day. My communication was direct, factual, and straight to the point. Lori’s, on the other hand, was filled with flowers, what people were wearing, what everyone said, what everyone did at what time. She was quite descriptive. DROVE ME NUTS! JUST GET TO THE POINT! But NOOOOO, we had to drive everywhere around the point, circle it several times before she’d get there. UGGGH! It wore me out. Now I have two children, and I ask them what happened in their day. I have one who tells me the facts even if they are disgusting, and I have one who tells me about every flower, what people were wearing, what everyone said, what everyone did at what time, and what this child thinks about every aspect of the situation. Oh dear!

The author of a book colors the story from their own experience and perspective keeping in mind who their audience is. For my flowery-worded people who finds every bit of minutia interesting, these authors describe every smell, every site, every thought. For my get-to-the-point people who want directness, they like authors who are succinct and to the point. They like authors who are tight and cohesive in their composition. While the Bible has One author, God, He uses different human beings to write the stories.

In Matthew 14, he writes this story as if Jesus goes alone to the other side of the sea whereas in Mark 6, he tells us that Jesus went to the other side with the disciples. His disciples had been sent out in twos previously and had returned to him to give him their reports. From the sounds of it, the work was exhausting. If you have ever done church work or been in church leadership, you know how tiring it can be. Jesus was leading them to the other side of the sea for a time of rest. Is this two different stories? Is this a conflict in the story? No, it is simply the author’s perspective in what he is led to see as important. Matthew’s audience is the Jews. John Mark’s audience is the Christians. For Matthew, he wanted the Jews to realize that Jesus was human needing rest and connection with the father. He also wanted to point out that Peter, another Jew, believed in Christ and participated in this one miracle with Him. Mark is pointing Christians to see how the disciples were accountable to Jesus, that they all needed rest, and that Jesus is the focus of the miracle of walking on the water. One story, two different takes.

It’s like in a car accident, you can have two people sitting in the same car watching the same accident unfold, but the eyes of the witnesses may be focused on two totally different things. One is watching and waiting for the light to change. The other is on their phone texting. They both hear a noise, but their attention is drawn to the accident at slightly different times. Their minds are in two totally different places. One of them is a driver and has experience in driving. The other is a teenager who hasn’t started driving. Did they both see the same accident? Yes. Are they going to have slightly different versions? Yes. Will they both be right? Yes, because it is what they experienced.

The Word of God never changes. It doesn’t contradict itself. If you think you find a contradiction, then you need to dig deeper. Ask a pastor. This is an opportunity for you to grow in your faith. Dig on!

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