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Eric's Sunday Sermon; And the Written Word? Do You Take Reading For Granted?

Updated on April 23, 2017

The great expanse of earth

Watching the rain coming from 100 miles away
Watching the rain coming from 100 miles away | Source

The problem with requiring reading

The written word or “the word” is what modern Christians are to follow. “Read, learn, study and meditate on it” in order to grow in faith and be a true believer. “If you do not read and study the Bible then you cannot hold a faith that is genuine”. How many times have we heard that? For me, I cannot count the times. For a while I even believed it. I exhorted others in like fashion. It is wrong. Incredible isn’t it? How can it be? No this is not blasphemy. It is so obvious that it can no longer be debated.

The Nicene Council happened about the middle of the 4th century – mostly putting together the Bible Americans believe today after translation. Many people today rely on many different versions. My wife’s Vietnamese Bible has some interesting variations as does the Spanish Speaking Roman Catholic. To me that is all fine.

Here is the rub. Gutenberg in about 1455 was the first printed Bible capable of being anywhere close to mass produced. At the time there were probably less than 20,000 books (all books, in the Western world). Gutenberg made little progress in that regard. Then you have Luther in around 1522 taking it from Latin into the real world. At the time only about .05% of people could even speak Latin much less read it. In around 1600 about 85% of all folks were illiterate. (give or take 5% - who cares?)

Now is someone going to tell me that only about 1% of the world between 1450 and 1600 were real Christians because they did not read it they could not be? And virtually .05% before that?

Bible thumpers have a problem here. Preachers that demand you read or go to hell have an even bigger problem. And wives who think their husbands are not good Christians because they do not go to Bible Study have an even bigger bigger problem in faith. We have no indication that half of the Apostles ever read a word – of anything. There is no indication for sure that Paul was capable of writing rather than using “scribes”. Have you ever wondered why there is no indication that Christ could write? Certainly the Son of God could if that was meant to be? He could read, but could He write?

Everybody has the right to believe

From sea to shining sea all are included in the dream

Of course this notion is applicable to any country.
Of course this notion is applicable to any country. | Source

Happy is a state of mind

So most the Western world up until about a few hundred years ago could not be Christians according to some who toss out scripture as though it proves their belief. “If you don’t read it then you cannot know the Word of God”. That is just crazy by 2,000 years of history and standards.

So I fully suggest that anyone reading this should take a moment and thank God for the ability to read. There is no question that it is good to read the Bible. There is no question that it brings us better understanding of God. And there is no question that studying it is good for you – normally.

Here is another problem. Just as it is, some of us are more literate than others even today. Some have a larger capacity of syntax and many a larger vocabulary. Some read and write and become quite exceptionally literate. Some get fancy higher education. Some choose to study language like English. And yet some still do not get to attend school and learn their mother tongue. I knew a gal who would comment on my sermons with true vim and vigor about reading the Bible and studying. But in her comments you could tell she did not really have advanced understanding in literacy. Probably she could not really comprehend much of what she read because her reiteration of what she read made little to no sense. We all have different capacities and reading comprehension is not birth given but takes hard work. Yet I know a priest who is not really very literate in Spanish or English but gives the most wonderful sermons. And with just a few phrases it was obvious he knew nothing of Latin.

How can that be? Please do not be bothered by this. It is a simple Preacher man’s way of getting to an important point. Yes it will have to do with love.

Doubting Thomas. And Christ says to the effect “so much greater is the faith of those who will believe and yet have not seen”. Thomas an original 12 had an issue with proof. Some people do not even have an issue with being able to read the Bible. They just believe – do not ask me how. Their faith is true and astounding! That just gets me all jazzed up to think about. My son did not even have to read or even listen a bit and he believed before he could speak.

I hope you get some pleasure. My mom had this album and I loved it.

Grandma's

I am illiterate in Vietnam. Interesting concept.
I am illiterate in Vietnam. Interesting concept. | Source

I think I will just close my eyes and listen.

Now unless you think I have gone bonkers – attend a Lutheran, Episcopal, Anglican or Catholic service. My elder son and one daughter were bell ringers. Really during a part of the preparation of the Holy Eucharist a child rings a little bellalabra (kind of like chimes). But here is the cool part – that is tradition left over from a period of just about 300 years ago maximum, when the services were all in Latin. Nobody could understand a word, so the bells tolled/told peoples when to get up and down and cross themselves or say a litany. I am serious that is true. Mass in Mexico only went understandable Spanish in the last half of the last century. I am not making this stuff up.

Happy days are here again the skies are clear and bright again – happy days are here again.

Lest my neighbor think of this a freedom from study – stop it right there. We are the lucky ones, the ones who just get it out of a miracle and the ones who can read and read well. How cool is that. I used to preach to a congregation of English as a Second Language. The older ones had to read my self and catch a word here and there. They were awesome. Because I spoke with tongues. No, not that gibberish and strange weird mumbo jumbo, I spoke with passion and huge doses of love beyond my mental capacity. The word was made and in 20 hrs. of work and prayer and meditation and supplication a 15 minute sermon was not made out of words but of love. Monday morning and ten minutes of reading the scriptures and giving it up and the sermon would flow. Repeat several times daily and with much prayer and nature and release of my own will and boom baby a meaningful sermon was coming through me but not of me. Is that how those 1300 preacher’s did it? I wonder. My wife tells me that something like bài giảng của bạn đang di chuyển means something like that I moved them with my passion. Could be wrong there. But the notion lingers.

I don’t know how things all work. Best I know is that Eric plans and God laughs, Eric understands and God goes back to work on me. What the hell is understanding anyway?

And as it is a beseech you to love. Comprehension may be well overrated. When I speak I sound wise for I have given it much work. When I feel I feel you for I have surrendered to your understanding. But when I love I have much more. I have a two way connection in which language lingers and fingers its way out of an abyss. For it is in love that we know God and not by hard work. By Grace that he allows even the most illiterate to learn of Him. And I swear that many who cannot read know God far better than I. But I am blessed for I put love above all understanding. Go bless someone else.

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    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 months ago from london

      The God-man Ramakrishna was an amazing story. He could hardly read or write yet scholars and luminaries would flock to him for advice. My Teacher has learned but again people from high places would go to him for advice.

      You seem to be saying that spirituality is the language of the Heart. Good on you.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 2 months ago from Washington DC

      Very well said, something I have wanted to say but never did. But now you know me, if I read it through I must say something so here goes.

      I do have some knowledge about the printing of the "the word" and accepts everything you said until I research it as extensive as you have. In both, the old testament's Jeremiah and new's Hebrews, is written the law is put in our hearts and inward parts and includes they {those to be redeemed this end-time} will know god for themselves, they will not need to teach each other to know god.

      In finding that many Native Americans in old age told their tribes they were going on a mountain to die were never found when the tribesman who later sought to burry them found nothing suggests salvation comes from within rather than man telling others.

      Your son sounds like those called "Indigo Children" today who just know without being taught. In looking over my life I find I may have been an early born one who said things in metaphors of what my life was to be like. For me, it took the metamorphosis of the new birth to get me into position to understand and live what I had said. That makes me "the first fruit of the gospel" b y my understanding.

      If it wasn't my destiny I would not even share my "observed" experiences as the "great commission" demands but following my destinies the only important thing my life.

      From my perspective, I totally agree with your analysis, that is why my primary instructions are seek the new birth with a testimony of conception, gestation, trivial and birth so that it is clear in their minds that they have spiritual ears to "hear what the spirit has to say."

      I really enjoy your teaching the "straight is the way and narrow is the gate" message, aka, in Buddhism, the middle path.

      Peace

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Manitita, you always bring much to the sermons. I was getting way into meditation and empathy for a while. When I was in a good space I would walk into a place with people and either turn around and run out or feel the love. For some reason, especially churches and small retail places. There is no doubt in my mind that love is it's own language.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elijah friend you really just made me think linear for a moment. In full understanding are we touched with love first and then read to understand? I think so. Perhaps we can first read to comprehend but ultimately we have got to get on the love train before we really get what we read.

      I have sympathy for the children who are "required" to read and study rather than just being loved unconditionally and experiencing the wonders of nature and the like first.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 2 months ago from Washington DC

      Eric,

      One must have "unconditional love" or they are hating in one form or another. With it we think holistically so the lines run in every direction to touch other unconditional love wherever found. When I read I read, listen, see, smell, taste {usually} and feel for comprehension through love so I'm never off the love train.

      I also have sympathy for being forced to reading but realize that is what civilization is, cultivating children's minds to control them in their later years for selfish gain. Yet, its all predestined to by existence itself. Unconditional love was seldom found, more recognized today more than ever, so yesteryear parents' love was conditioned into them which they passed along believing it wen without condition when it usually began as a survival tactic.

      If we were to experience nature with complete abandonment to understanding it we would never need man to teach us. The OT law to take law breakers out of the communities and "stone" {teach} them to death {of that attitude} was meaning to force then to live independent of social living, not using rocks to force their discarnation.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 2 months ago

      Eric , My beautiful friend , I don't know anyone , ever ,..... ever , who has touched upon what I call "the reality of religion " as you have over these few years I have read you ! You truly have a gift of somehow touching upon the differences between those who are die -hard biblist's and the few remaining , like myself , who could never dream of anything but 'falling between the cracks ' as Christians. I could never sit in the pews of hypocrisy of the Jimmy Bakers , or even recite the hymns word for word of the most basic lines , hence , I do not belong in church but I am in wonder and appreciation of our one god and his marvels . Thank you , For always having a beautiful and treasured way with words !.............Keep it up , you are a treasure !

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 months ago from london

      Yes, yes. Too true. Love is the language of the Heart ... the voice of God ..... of Light ...he who loves never grows old. You, me, Bill ..., we say the same things, just in different ways sometimes.

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 2 months ago from Escondido, CA

      An interesting sermon on a subject at times dear to my heart. I too have looked into literacy historically and access to books. I took a class in college on reading and we studied about literacy too. Those are actually fascinating especially in the context you presented. Perhaps people simply take literacy and access to books for granted. And, many don't get it that the average reading level in the U.S. is 7th-8th grade.

      I remember when managing a tire/service store when I would tell a mechanic to grab the manual and read it. I realized with some cases they could not read it since they are written at the 14th grade level. Think about what grade level some translations are written. The NIV is 8th grade. I can't remember how many times I have heard people criticize them for reading that version. The bottom line, IMHO, is the message recieved at a personal level.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I loved this post Eric. Indeed spirituality is the language of the Heart. Our spiritual - life force I Am the I Am knows truth. Its only us in a human body that are asleep, so we create stories.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm 68, Bucko! I don't have time to take things for granted! :) You know what I mean? Have the best Monday imaginable, my friend.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elijah it is good how you work in your personal theology into the Bible so we can see things from your perspective. I learn much from that.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ed, I am really blessed to have you as a friend. You lift me up and spur me on. When you make such a loving comment it kind of reigns me back on course. You exemplify that which is God as God is just such love made manifest.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Manatita, So many people know this truth. And I love know them.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tim, what a great contribution to this sermon. You remind me to be understanding of folks who cannot comprehend but will not tell you that.

      I had not heard that about the NIV. Very interesting and I think I use it for quoting for that reason.

      Have a great day buddy, I am off to got hike our Capitan above Lakeside.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 2 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I am all in favor of reading your Bible. No matter how many times I go there, I always find something new--maybe just the exact thing I need to hear at that time. It was there all along, but I just wasn't tuned in.

      Does that make be any more of a Christian that the person who doesn't open a Bible at all, or even own one? Absolutely not! As you said, until a few hundred years ago most people couldn't even read.

      You're heard the saying "just because a cat has kittens in the oven, it doesn't make them biscuits". Christianity is about what you feel in your heart and know in your soul, and how you love.

      Thanks for a great Hub.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 2 months ago from Washington DC

      Thanks Eric, my purpose for sharing is to inspire others to think outside of the book, box or whatever one calls how they usually think.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      From the moment I was told there was a Creator of this world I believed. Even before my family started dragging me to church or, I was old enough to even realize there was a bible I had faith.

      The bible says God gives us all a measure of faith. I believe the difference between that faith growing from a mustard seed to full blown faith is a person who takes the seed and exercise it.

      My grandmother only had a third-grade, education. She couldn't read well or write well but she had the strongest Love for Jesus that I have ever seen. Her love for the Lord was a light for anyone she came across.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Nadine, I truly love folks like my wife for just believing in God and following "traditional" constructs with joy. They really love. I have a firm foundation there and feel free to go further knowing I will never fall far.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill I did not take the day for granted, nor my wife or children. That means it is a good day for sure. Your support will never be taken for granted.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Linda, I have books laying around the house. I have read them, but I pick them up for just a moment and read a paragraph or two and I get what I needed to think about at that moment. It is cool. The Bible is such a book and I think I have 10 of them in English. I am having the blessing of my son excelling in the language arts in first grade. I cook and he reads and we learn so much together.

      But alas all of that is just words when it comes to continuing the hard work of loving. You put in the effort of being my loving friend and I do appreciate it.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elijah you accomplish your purpose with me. Thanks

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Dana thank you. I have this awkward place in referencing folks like your Grandma and my wife. I want to congratulate them on the glory shown by their devotion to God. And I also want to say - God has done this in you. I think we are truly given that mustard seed, but God leaves it up to us to plant and nourish it.

      I had that same deal as a child. Years of understanding and study and practice come from that belief more than the Bible.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      A wonderful sermon. It is not the word but love that is needed in understanding the nature or God. Words are only an expression of what we feel and experience in our heart or soul. So, communicate through Love and not through words.

      I appreciate and thank you for this wisdom filled sermon.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 months ago from San Diego California

      The Epistle of Saint Eric to the Spring Valleyians. Had you been born at the time of the Apostles, I'm sure this particular letter of yours would have gotten past the Nicene censors and we Catholics would be stand up sit down kneel, stand up sit down kneel to it.

      I think you are right. I think many of us try to over analyze and over think this stuff called holiness, and we nitpick ourselves to death with doubts about how particular passages should be interpreted. In reality, we should just go with the flow bro.

      Amazing stuff, from an inspired source.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 2 months ago from Washington DC

      Excuse me for butting in on this one, Eric, but ...

      Venkatachari, you said "Words are only an expression of what we feel and experience in our heart or soul." That is true so I'm not disagreeing, but, because we are controlled and predestined by what we call "god" and IT has limited our beliefs by taking us all through the metamorphosis which caused us to see everything only in 180 degrees rather than the 368 of all wholes until we experience the second metamorphosis called "new birth" and restore us, from human/woman into man, for what is called salvation it isn't from the "I" or god.

      Good is all knowing, man means "mind able to understand all things" but human/woman only understands the emotions of our femininity or masculinity because their lack of unity. They are true so far as their abilities to comprehend half but from the external perspective they are incomplete truths. Just something I've experienced since going through the "new birth" metamorphosis I thought I would share.

      Peace,

      The0NatureBoy

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Venkatachari it is good to hear from you, I trust all is well. One of my favorite "logics" of the Bible is putting together a couple of thoughts. We learn that Christ is the living Word, and then we learn that God is Love. And so we see that the Word is Love. And I just love that!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mel I was thinking of you this morning as I noticed what seem to be a "flock" of doves that have been visiting us for a week or so. And yesterday up by El Capitan I saw an almost pure black Quail. I must come visit your Bird work.

      Mel I think one of the coolest thing for someone like me who over analyzes everything in the Bible is that I generally come up with the same beliefs as someone like my wife who only reads it when she is doing the Epistle reading for Sunday Service. Like Paul's thorn it keeps me humble.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Elijah you are always welcome to share your very learned thoughts on any of the Sermons. You express yourself with loving kindness. I surely do like reading your construct of us "getting back to whole". The 180 - 360 notion is great to ponder. Thank you.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Eric and Elijah,

      I appreciate both of you for your deep insights. What I meant by word is that words can be sometimes faulty and misunderstood due to the receiving person's capacity. And, mostly words can't convey our true innate feelings and perceptions in a complete picture. As Elijah remarked it can be 180-degree approach either in perception or communication. But through feelings, we can convey the whole concept very clearly either by Love or Compassion whatever it may be. So, I always try to perceive the feelings and emotions of the people rather than worrying at their usage of words. So, Eric, as you say, God is word and words are Love. Let us communicate through Love.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 2 months ago from Washington DC

      Venkatachari, I agree with you except once, after what is termed "new birth," we become a whole begin internally and externally we are supposed to see the whole 360 and if we can see it we are to verbalize it.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Venkatachari -- you make such an important point. I reckon for the circle to go unbroken both the sender and the receiver must be acting in love.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      You are right Elijah there has to be a sharing of love knowledge or we are not whole.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Yes, Elijah. I agree with you at that stage. Once we are complete, taking the rebirth, we may be able to verbalize and convey through words also perfect without confusion.

      Thank you, Eric and Elijah, for your love and wisdom words.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 8 weeks ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, you're different and I have to admit that some of your propositions fly over my head. I agree that Bible reading does not make one a saint, but there are benefits to be gained by reading it. I don't think I read it enough.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 8 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Dora, I will take your comment as encouragement to do better at staying more focused and tethered to normalcy. I do not read the Bible enough either. So your comment encourages me there also.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 5 weeks ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      I once remember asking a Catholic nun why they had statues in their church, her reply has stuck with me for years.

      "Simple" she replied, "years ago people didn't read, the statues reminded them of the stories, so did the hymns!"

      'Back in the day' they concentrated on learning stories 'by rote'.

      They'd know the story, but reading it?

      Great hub

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 5 weeks ago from london

      God continue to bless your Spirit, Bro. You have understood the message well. Actually many Saints could not read or write. Yet even Kings and other luminaries used to visit them for advise. O amazing Grace! How great thou art! O Love, how I bow to Your beautiful face!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 5 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very cool Lawtrence thank you for that info. I bet we could add murals, stained glass and stations of the cross to that concept. Very cool thanks again.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 5 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Manatita, your comment reminds me of our Navajos and their reliance on weaving special patterns, sand painting and Chiefs and Medicine men and of course cave paintings. Thank you.

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      Wild Bill 5 weeks ago

      Austin is asking which branch the FBI is under. Everyone is saying executive and she is shooting them down.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 5 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Wild Bill I associate more with the great Bill Williams as he helped shape my home of Arizona. But Hickok was also a favorite.

      We are concerned that folks think there are four branches of government and that the Justice Dept is controlled by the Judiciary. It seems that it is an attack on a person (uncomfortable with you violating my personal space) if you try to explain what is Caesars and what is not.

      After hearing that I was reported for pointing out the error. I gave it up and called several folks I know to be sure they were not so ignorant. My immigrant wife, 7 year old son and all other children and friends get it.

      So I leave it alone with Austin. She has an issue.

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      Wild Bill 5 weeks ago

      Yes, she is dumb as a rock and a biatch to boot. That's a bad combo.

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