I’ll continue my look at the Wesleyan Quadrilateral tomorrow. For today, a divergence.
I really should have started this at the beginning of January, but I’m not as clever as I wish I was. I am reading through the Bible in 90 days to start 2013, and while it is an aggressive reading plan that almost ensures that individual verses or thoughts are only waded into briefly, it offers a unique perspective as well. From this thirty-thousand foot view I get to see and “feel” the Bible in a different way. I’ve never attempted to consume this much of the Scriptures this quickly so I’m in new territory here.
When you watch a movie or read a book for the second time you almost always approach it differently. If it was a “who-done-it” type story you are no longer trying to figure out who the villain is, you already know that. You are likely looking closer at how the protagonist figured out the mystery, what clues you might have missed along the way, or maybe little things like bits of dialogue or description that you didn’t give full attention to the first time. For me, this process of reading the Bible more like a story and less like an encyclopedia in such a short period of time is kind of like going back and reading/watching a story for the first time again – if that makes sense. The small details are there but they are not the focus, the overarching movements of the meta-narrative are the things that stand out.
One of the things that has stood out throughout this reading journey, thus far, is just how much smoother the storyline runs, and how much easier following the Bible is when a single character is the focal point for extended periods of time. The more character consistency the more stability the story has the more it is understandable in the grand scheme of things. For example: 1 and 2 Samuel basically deal with three people (Samuel, Saul, David) and therefore they read fast, interesting, and memorable. 1 and 2 Kings on the other hand reference literally scores of characters (Kings, Prophets, Priests) and become very difficult to follow.
A simple observation that occurred to me was this: you will maximize your effectiveness in people’s lives the more consistently you are around. We’ve seen this in families where one or both parents have schedules that heavily consume their time; their children are not influenced as greatly by them and it has nothing to do with position but with presence. I was far more challenged and encourage by Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and David than with Esau, Jocabed, Gedaliah, and Nebuzradan.
Bottom line, if you want to influence people you will have to connect with them, it is a non-negotiable aspect of leadership. And the more you connect with them the more potential influence you will have on them. The catch here is that the more of our lives people see the more of who we actually are is exposed to people. Saul started strong but tanked in the end. David started relatively insignificant and forgettable, but ended up as the greatest of the kings of Israel. There are two ways to make sure that you stay in God’s story for a significant amount of time: dedicate and commit to doing what He says, or be so rebellious that He has to put you down in a unique way.
In an ironic twist, this reading goal has taken quite a bit more time than my usual devotional reading and I’ve been much less “connected” on the social media sights that I frequent. So, to a certain degree, I’ve had a chance to detox a bit.