What is your first experience with the Bible?

When I write a book, it comes after years of experience, research, and writing in a particular area. I wrote a novel set in Uganda where I lived seven years and listened for hours on end to stories of ordinary and extraordinary Ugandans. I wrote a book on a doctor in Honduras after interviewing and conferring with more than one hundred people.

I’m researching for an upcoming book and I need your help to understand the wide range of experience people have with the Bible.

My experience with the Bible began in the 1970s when I was given my first King James Version Bible by my parents, Terrel and Charlotte Taylor. In the featured image of this post is the title page where my Mom wrote, “[Presented to] Gregory Taylor [by] Dad and Mom: We love you and pray that you will always want to study God’s Word and follow what it says. May God bless you. November 6, 1975. 

While I heard Old Testament stories from Bible class teachers as examples of faith, that two thirds of my first Bible seems untouched, unread. I read and marked New Testament passages about belief and baptism. For those first few years of my experience with the Bible, I wanted to believe and be baptized so I could go to heaven when I died and not go to hell.

To say that I read the Bible with confusion and fear would be an understatement. Anselm’s motto, “Faith seeking understanding” is a good description of my search for God as an eight year old. My early experiences were also marked with what felt like failure. We were given reading plans and encouraged to read the whole Bible. I never did, and tripped up weeks into any plan, growing bored, confused, and feeling like I was missing something.

One last and important thing: As Adam and Eve had a competing desire and sinned, so also in those early years I was introduced to a competing desire and sinned. I was living the early Bible story already and didn’t realize it. Television images, girls, and a magazine that my neighbor, aptly named Adam, pulled us breathlessly into the woods to show my brother and me competed with the words of God for my imagination. Doubts would come later, and I’ll write more about doubt and this competing for my imagination in my book.

What is your first experience with the Bible? I’m looking for brief responses about your first experience with the Bible, and I may contact you for an interview by phone about your other experiences. You are welcome to respond on comments below, or send email to gregtaylormail@gmail.com. Answer the question, “What was my first experience with the Bible?” as deeply and honestly as you can.

Thank you, and I look forward to your responses!

Greg

Election 2016

Begin praying for our president elect today.

Bespoke

The peso will buy you fewer enchiladas today, pollsters are leaping from tall buildings, stocks are limit down, and my son is moving to Canada, which wasn’t the reason for the Canadian Immigration web site crash, but rather an interesting coincidence. What an election evening and I’m fairly apolitical.

I sat watching the wide-eyed dour commentators and began to wonder what kind of moment I was watching in American history. Clearly it is a watershed moment. But it is unclear at this moment if the water is flowing downhill or back up the mountain. Time will tell.

I’ve lived with a Republican president 29 years. I’ve lived with a Democratic president 28 years. I’m certain that I will adjust to life with another president that gives me indigestion.

Forty-nine per cent of our country feel like it’s the end of the world. The other fifty-one don’t feel much better. Here’s…

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By Greg Taylor Posted in God

Best Thai in Broken Arrow

Do you like Thai food and live in Broken Arrow? Try Amazing Thai Cuisine. I enjoy eating at locally owned restaurants serving food from around the world, and if you enjoy Thai food like Yellow Curry, search no further.

Visiting is like walking into a friendly home, with Thai cooks and servers greeting you warmly and serving great food. The atmosphere is very warm and enjoyable, clean, service is great, and food is amazing.

 

By Greg Taylor Posted in God

Mark and Pam Rushmore

Mark and Pam Rushmore are great friends and beloved Shepherds of The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. A Shepherd means they watch over the flock and staff and make sure we follow Jesus, God’s word, and love and pray for every person who calls on the Lord and the church for help.

Mark and Pam have been members of The Journey, like the Taylors, since mid 2000s, so we’ve been through a lot together.

Watch this video about Mark and Pam’s story. What I love about Mark and Pam is they are so good at what they do, but they follow what one of my friends calls the “unforced rhythms of grace” in their lives. They are in business to add value and worth to people’s lives, what they call “Life Lived Better.”

New Book and Video: Daring Faith by Randy Harris and Greg Taylor

Daring Faith from Amazon art

Tired of the political talk? Listen to Jesus direct you instead!

Follow along as Randy Harris and Greg Taylor lead you through the amazing Gospel of John in order to meet Jesus and learn Daring Faith.

Daring Faith is a brand new book and video companion new for the summer of 2016!

You can get the book content — which is great for personal, group, or church studies — in three forms: book, video (trailer below), audiobook (sample below).

Audiobook coming soon. Hear a sample below, narrated by Greg Taylor.

 

 

By Greg Taylor Posted in God

Sometimes I Hate You, but I’m Glad We’re Still Happily Married | CHARIS

I wrote this article for Charis. I’m not going to publish the whole thing here, because I want you to visit this new online magazine published through the Sibert Institute of Abilene Christian University.

Charlie Shedd once said he found a note on the fridge after a particularly contentious argument with his wife. The note read, “Dear Charlie, I hate you. Love

Source: Sometimes I Hate You, but I’m Glad We’re Still Happily Married | CHARIS

By Greg Taylor Posted in God

N’ani eyayona? John 9:1-12

Basoga friends,

I was reading the other day in the Lusoga Bible as I occasionally still do, and think and pray for you. I’ve been reading in the Gospel of John to prepare for writing a book with friend, Randy Harris. The passage I read that I wanted to discuss with you today is John 9:1-2. I’ll quote the text below and give a discussion question and you can write comments if you wish and forward this to other’s on Facebook. Who would have known in the 1990s that we’d be keeping track of one another by Facebook till we meet again on earth or in the New Creation!?

Those of you in Uganda or Soga speakers elsewhere can use this text and discussion question for Bible studies with non-Christians and Christians both. Those who don’t read Lusoga can look up the text online, whereas it’s harder to get the Lusoga text online or in books. We were so happy to celebrate with 1,000 partiers the first ever Lusoga full New Testament being published in history in 1999.

Here’s what John 9:1-2 says, “Yesu bwe yali atambula yaabona amusaadha eyazaalibwa nga mutulu. Abeegeresebwa be baamubuuza bati: “Mwegeresa, omusaadha ono okuzaalibwa nga mutulu n’ani eyayona? Mwene oba bazaire be?”

In English, “n’ani eyayona?” of course means “Who sinned?” but the slang of American English would be translated something like, “Who screwed up?” This is not a nice way to talk really, because screwed is also a sexual term in English, but it can be used informally to mean, “Who made the mistake?” For English only speakers, the Lusoga word eyayona is a word for sin.

What I want to propose for discussion is Jesus’s response. In verse 3, Jesus says, “Mwene ti n’eyayona waire abazaire be.” So, right away Jesus says it’s neither choice the disciples gave Jesus. The disciples gave Jesus a multiple choice test: Was it A. The blind man himself screwed up, sinned, and so was struck blind or B. The parents of the blind man screwed up and so their kid was struck blind

Jesus tells his disciples neither one is the right answer.

OK, so read the rest of the story below in Lusoga from Yoanne 9:1-12 and answer the following questions:

1. What do you like about this story?

2. What do you not like about this story?

3. What is this story saying to the audience that originally received it and to us today?

4. What is this story calling us to believe?

5. What is this story calling us to do?

6. Would you share this Jesus story with one person this week?

Yesu yaabairamu ati: “Mwene ti n’eyayona waire abazaire be, aye yatuluwala amaani ga Katonda gamweyolekeemu. Tutweekwa okukola eby’oyo eyantuma, nga bukaali musana, kuba obwire buli kwidha nga ghazira aghanga kukola. Nga ndi mu nsi muno, ninze ekimuliikirira eky’ensi.”

Bwe yamala okwogera ebyo yaafuudha ku itaka [katogo — ha!], yaakola ekisoodo mu matanta n’enkungu yaakibaka ku maiso g’omusaadha. Yaamukoba ati: “Ja onaabe mu maiso mu kidiba ky’e Siloamu,” (eriina eritegeeza, “atumiibwa”). Kale yaaja, yaanaaba, yaira ng’abona!

Ab’oku lulaalo lw’ewaibwe n’abantu abandi abaamubonanga ng’asabiriza, beebuuzagania bati: “Ono ti n’omusaadha eyatyamanga ghale ng’asabiriza?”

Abandi baakoba bati: “N’oyo.” Ate abandi baakoba bati: “Busa, ti n’oyo, kumufaanana bufaanane.” Agho omusaadha mwene yaakoba ati: “Ninze.”

Kye baava ni bamubuuza bati: “Kiidha kitya okuba nga buti oghanga okubona?”

Yaabairamu at: “Omusaadha ye beeta Yesu akoze agho ekisoodo yaakimbaka ku maiso, era yankoba nje nnaabe mu Siloamu. Kale, naaja, naanaaba era naatolera okubona.”

Bamubuuza bati: “Oyo ali luuyi gha?” Yairamu ati: “Tiidhi.”

 

By Greg Taylor Posted in God
Quote

Anne Lamott to ministers: “We don’t need hassled bitter ministers. We don’t want you to talk the talk about this being the day the Lord has made and rejoice and savor its beauty and poignancy when secretly you’re tearing around like a white rabbit; we need you to walk the walk. And we need you to walk a little more slowly.”

Anne Lamott to ministers

How Deep the Father’s Love for Us

After speaking with our nephew, Drew Taylor, about a horrible accident he was in, my brother and Drew’s uncle Bubba (Brent) wrote a much better account than I could have written, with some memories I had forgotten at least to correlate. Brent, thank you for using your gift to share what is a important perspective: that we can’t explain what happened at 1:15 am on a Kentucky interstate, but we can “explain” — as Bruce McLarty put it — what the body of Christ does when we can’t reach our loved ones. We rally and come together in the great love the Father has for us.

Bespoke

Sunday morning during communion while the church sang, “How deep the Father’s love for us,” I sat and listened unable to sing, because I had a softball stuck in my throat. I had just read a text from my brother Toby, “Played a little chess Drew is beating me without even looking. Washing his hair this morning. The truck on top of the car dripped oil all over him…he is still hurting. On IV pain meds.”

While the church sang…

“How great the pain of searing loss, The Father turns His face away, As wounds which mar the chosen One, Bring many sons to glory.”

…I thought about not being able to reach my own son, of Toby not being able to reach Drew, and of my own Father God, who could have reached his own Son, but used Divine restraint and only watched and saw the pain of searing…

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By Greg Taylor Posted in God

At the Foot of the Cross in the Middle of the World by John Barton

Recently my college roommate, Uganda teammate, friend and brother in Christ John Barton gave this talk at Rochester College. John and his wife, Sara, have radically committed their lives to Christ. They were the first of our friends to huddle us up and call a play that would change our lives. They said, “We’re going to Africa to do mission work. We’d love for you to come. But we are going with or without you.”

None of us could bear the thought of them going without us, and John in particular would surely need some help paying for several basketball courts in our future home. So we decided to go along.

Since that day, John and Sara, have continued that “play” and have been blazing a trail that others have followed. In particular, John is interacting in the U.S. and encouraging our Ugandan friends through Kibo and other ways to interact in loving, honest, and humble ways with Muslims and others who do not share our same view of Christ and the cross.

In this talk, linked below, you will find a view of Christ and the cross that is a powerful contextualization for today of these words of Apostle Paul:  “but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor 1:23-25)

AAA Driving Experience

Jill and I are teaching our third and maybe last person to drive. We’ve taught each of our children to drive with AAA’s Parent Taught driver education system. They study the book, we sit in the passenger seat and help them get 55 hours of driving experience before taking their test.

We originally latched on to AAA because this reduced expenses for the driver’s ed and lowered our insurance premiums when we got insurance through AAA. With a teenage boy driving now, our insurance premium is sure to go up.

If I had a chance to do it over, I’d repeat the same process. There is nothing like being right there for each moment of your children’s learning to drive. This is a huge rite of passage in our culture, getting your license, and these captive moments are often some of the key places our pre-driving teenagers are still listening intently to soak up what they can about how to be safe and make it from one place to another.

Half way through the training, you can actually begin talking about something else besides the driving, with only the intermittent, “Yeah, there was a curb there, and you found it, yes” comments from the parent. Walking along a path, jogging, driving, the act of going somewhere together prompts us to talk, and I don’t know all the reasons why. I do know that I want to be there for these times with my children, when they realize what they’ve been watching us do is not as easy as they thought, takes much practice and eventual muscle memory that must proceed being full-enough aware to achieve frogger (that’s an old parent reference for you) status when turning left into a busy street.

If you are considering teaching your children to drive and weighing this versus sending them off to a driving instructor, consider this: who would you rather teach your children to operate the most deadly invention since the dawn of creation? I know there are some experts who can do better at the techniques or know the road rules better, but there is no one who cares more for your child than you do. Do you have the patience, the fortitude or courage to watch without sucking all the oxygen out of the inside of the car every time your child has a close call, or flat out screaming? You’ll never know until you try it.

You will have to be in the car for some of the practice hours of driver’s education anyway. You might as well be called the teacher as well as the parent.

By Greg Taylor Posted in God