Everyone loves to cook! We have a channel dedicate to cooking, with cooking competitions put on with NFL-esque energy and savvy. Yet, there are less people cooking in their living rooms.
Mark Bittman, a New York Times columnist, writes:
“There’s something peculiar about our obsession with the business of cuisine. There are 24/7 TV shows on food, countless food magazines and more Instagram accounts of impossibly beautiful and exotic dishes than one could count or, frankly, stomach. And it’s evident from the haughty, well-inked celebrity chefs who smile down at us from billboards that the place of food in our day-to-day lives is no match for the place it holds in our culture.”
Replace some of the nouns and Mark has described and explained why less people read scripture today. The Church’s media on Scripture studies can compete with any cable channel. We have 24/7 access to the best preachers of the days that slice and chop the scripture and serve up delivery-perfect delicious sermons. Then we have celebrity pastors who share their secrets of cooking Scripture that promises to energize your spirit. The world of cuisine has 30-minutes of cooking, we have 30-minutes of devotionals, making Scripture come alive with humor and deft insights. Which all, ironically, leads to less people reading less of scripture.
The lay person no longer think they can read scripture on their own because Christian media says you need the celebrity pastor to hold your hands through scripture, or you need the most up-to-date commentary with all the latest findings.
The pre-cooked meal looks delicious and promising and there is no way we can cook up anything like it in our own devotions. We nourish ourselves on bible study books and not on the bible itself. Restaurant foods make homemade meals look bland and boring. Why wouldn’t I go for the 40 days of Purpose-Drive Life, with its just the right sized content, and balanced with stories and humor over the bible which in comparison is plain and not well balanced.
Restaurant food, though, will endanger your health even if we keep only to five-star ones. Nothing beats simple home cooking for your health. Nothing beats scripture reading for spiritual health. And when you just open scripture, it turns out that cooking and eating scripture is not that hard. You discover new flavors and spices which most off-the-shelf bible studies simply will not put into their dish. But they open us to deeper experiences of God.
The bible was written for the common person. That is why the New Testament writers deliberately chose Koine Greek, simple street language Greek.
So go ahead, get messy in your kitchen, and start reading the scripture on your own. There is no harm in burning a drumstick or two. Read through the scripture and share your interpretation with your community. Scripture in its entirety seem to be self-correcting. And of course, there is the Holy Spirit, the Master Chef, who will be there all along the way.
This withdrawal of theology from the world of secular affairs is made more complete by the work of biblical scholars whose endlessly fascinating exercises have made it appear to the lay Christian that no one untrained in their methods can really understand anything the Bible says. We are in a situation analogous to one about which the great Reformers complained. The Bible has been taken out of the hands of the layperson; it has now become the professional property not of the priesthood but of the scholars. – Lesslie Newbigin