Last week, on my drive home from Spring Hill, I stopped in at my birth town of Owosso, Michigan for a centennial celebration. Our family friends, the Pennington's, have had their home in their family for 100 years (hence, the centennial celebration).
I use to like to visit the Pennington home as a kid because there was a swimming pool in the backyard and the nice lady who lived there kept a jar full of lemon drops in the study. She didn't seem to mind when my brother, sister, and I would help ourselves to the candy, so I didn't mind when my parents wanted to drop by to say hello.
But visiting the home as a child has left a scar on me - right in the middle of on my forehead. When I was about 4 years old my sister chased me into the corner of the Pennington's dining room table. (I was much shorter at age 4 than I am today.) I nailed my forehead against the edge of the table, and in doing so I cracked my head open.
Blood gushed from my forehead and when it became apparent a band aide wasn't going to do, my parents rushed me to the emergency room. There a doctor performed surgery, stitching back together my forehead.
I'm disappointed my sister didn't get in trouble for the incident. Both she and my brother deserved to be punished for something. At our home, a few blocks aways, they'd frequently put me in some carriage thing, and then push me down the stairs. (Where was my mother during all of this? Days of Our Lives - perhaps?)
Anyway, the reason I mention the Pennington's open house is because while I was there I met this man who use to work at Zondervan Publishing. Recently he switched companies and is now working to get people reading the Bible again. He explained to me, every day in the US, 700 people stop reading the Bible. I was skeptical of the statistic (I am of most), but he backed it up by mentioning George Barna and the Gallop Polls, so I knew he couldn't be completely making it up.
He and his team are strategizing to get people reading Scripture again. Although he shared some good ideas, I don't think they'll necessary work - because it's not that people are just not reading their Bibles, people are dropping away from the Christian faith altogether. First you have to solve why people aren't interested in following Jesus.
But since my conversation with that man I've been thinking through possible reasons as to why people might stop reading their Bible, and I can't help but wonder if some people stop because they've somehow been hurt by Scripture. I've been hurt by Scripture, and even though I knew it well enough to know that Satan twisted Scripture in his back and forth with Jesus in the wilderness, I didn't realize the same thing could happen to me.
Renewing your mind with Scripture can be a tricky thing, because even meditating on the Word of God can have harmful effects, if it's not absorbed the way God intended to be understood.