Is It Holy Or Just A Book?

                               By Phil Scovell

          I was  raised in a strict Baptist home.  Actually, I think it did
     me more  good than  harm but  most today  would disagree.   I  find it
     humorous  that so many Pentecostals and Charismatics today were raised
     by,  what appears to be, the same  parents.  We just went to different
     churches was all.  anyhow, I digress.

          Before  focusing on  what  I really  want  to say,  and  before I
     explain what happened to me recently,  I want you to know exactly  the
     type of life I lived growing up in Iowa with a Baptist preacher for  a
     father.   We did not go out to  eat on Sundays.  Shoot, we hardly ever
     went out to eat  in the first place  but never on  Sunday.  I did  not
     ride my bike  on Sundays and my bike  was my life.  We  went to church
     Sunday morning, and Sunday evening, so most  of the time my folks made
     my little  sister and I take  a Sunday afternoon nap.   What's up with
     that?  Anyhow,  I figured it out.   We took a nap because  mom and dad
     had to take a nap or they would fall asleep in church.  My dad was the
     head deacon out of  about 25 men on the board so we couldn't have that

          I loved flying  kites in the field  next to our home  but I never
     flew kites on Sunday as a kid.   Dad didn't work on the car, unless it
     had broken down, we  didn't watch television, if my sister  and I were
     allowed to go outside, we had to stay in our own yard, and we were not
     allowed  to play with  other kids in  the neighborhood on  Sundays.  I
     could probably write  a book about this  topic alone, but by  now, you
     get the picture.

          I said all  of this to  talk about symbolism.   Is it  important?
     Well, if you  know anything at all about the Bible, you know symbolism
     is  very important but how important is  it in every-day life?  Let me

          I was taught that  you never placed the Bible on  the floor.  You
     never, absolutely never, hit another kid on the head with your  Bible.
     I  saw  many who  did  such  things  but  I  was  afraid  to  try  it.
     Furthermore,  you  never  laid  the  Bible  lower  than  other  books.
     Additionally, you never,  never, never, placed anything on  top of the
     Bible because, at the  very least, it should be on top of any stack of
     magazines, papers, or other books.  I'm sure you understand why  I was
     taught this.  Was  it necessary?   I'll refer to  the answer after  my
     next story.

          We were in  a Pentecostal church one  night.  We were  members of
     this church.  We had a wonderful time of worship and the preaching was
     great.  The pastor was the best organist I have ever heard and he knew
     how to play by the leading of the Holy Spirit, too.  He was fantastic.
     He sang very well and his preaching, in my opinion, was very good.

          So, as I started to say, after  this great service one night, the
     whole church ends up down at  the front.  For you nonpentecostals  and
     anticharismatics, it isn't all that common to have an all church altar
     call, meaning,  everybody ends up  down front praying or  being prayed
     for.  Yes, I know.  We are often worried we've sinned and backslid and
     lost our salvation but that's for a doctrines class.  Besides, I don't
     believe that anyway.  "Once a Baptist; always a Baptist?"

          So, we are  down front, as I said,  and the pastor, and  God only
     knows where he  came up with this  hair brained idea, takes  his Bible
     and lays it  on the carpeted floor.   No fooling.  He  lays his Bible,
     God as  my witness, right down on the freaking floor.  Then he gives a
     little speech about how important it is to stand, the key word here is
     "stand," upon  the Word of  God in our daily  life.  So  far; so good.
     Then, God forbid,  he invites individuals to step forward  who wish to
     stand on his Bible as  he prays and dedicates their lives  to living a
     Biblical life.  I almost blew a gasket.  I thought my heart would stop
     beating  or lightning would  fall and burn  the church down.   I never
     even believed anybody would  attempt such a thing but he  did.  Person
     after person stepped on to  the Bible laying on the floor and  as they
     "stood" on  the Word  of god," the  pastor prayed for  them.   When he
     began running short on  people who wanted to "stand" on  the Bible, he
     began  calling people  by name.   By this  time, I  was so mad,  I was
     spitting nails.  I prayed he'd ask me by name to come forward and step
     on the Bible.   I would have punched his teeth right  down his throat.
     Oh,  I was ready.   Please, God.   Let him call  my name.  I  am not a
     combative  person  but  that  day,  I would  have  been  arrested  for
     assaulting an idiot pastor that had lost his marbles.

          The little service  continued and we were down  to young children
     stepping on the Bible.  I decided in my heart, if that man called just
     one of my kids, or if one of my kids volunteered, I  would have spoken
     and condemn this hideous and unholy practice for the evil it  was, and
     walk out  of the place  with my family.   Thank God, the  pastor never
     called on my  kids nor did my kids volunteer because they knew better.
     Do you?

          Now, let me focus clearly on  the subject.  You surely know  that
     the thing we call  "The Bible" is  just a bunch of  paper and ink  and
     leather, or  simulated leather, and it is just a book.  Right?  Yes, I
     know it says  Holy Bible on the  cover and so it should,  but it ain't
     the cover that's holy, if you get my drift.  It isn't the paper and it
     is not the ink on the paper.  I know; I know.  It says "Holy Bible" on
     the cover  but it isn't  the material thing  that is  holy, it is  the
     words of God inside.  Correct me if I'm wrong.  No, forget what I just
     said.   I don't  need any  correction; I  know  what I  said is  true.
     However,  the symbolism that  material book represents  transcends all
     human understanding.  If you don't believe that, you best find another
     book  to  read.   Regardless,  I am  simply  trying to  point  out how
     important symbolism  is and that symbolism carries with it, tremendous
     meaning.   In  the case  of  the Bible,  it carries  meaning  that can
     literally change a life.

          So  where do we go from here?  That's  up to you and the Lord.  I
     know where I  stand.  The Word  of God is in  my heart and mind  and I
     stand upon its authority.  To  physically stand upon it is dumb.   No,
     forget that.  It isn't dumb, it is  ungodly and I hope god strikes you
     dead if you ever do it.

          Now, think about spiritual symbolism.   No, not everything in the
     Bible is symbolic.  I know that  and you know that.  Yet, some  things
     are symbolic.  I'm  not hear to clear up all  your screwed up theology
     in order to  make you believe like me.   I do want you  to think about
     the importance of symbolism.

     Now, I was recently feeling around on top of our entertainment center,
     that's  what they call an overgrown bookshelf which stores your TV and
     other electronics, for a place to put something down.  I  think it was
     the cordless phone but I don't recall for sure.  Anyhow, as I said,  I
     was feeling around on top  of this thing for a place  to sit something
     down.  Feeling?   Yes, when you are blind,  it works better that  way.
     What  am I  doing as  a  blind person  with a  TV in  my  living room?
     Watching  it, of course.  Do you know  how much junk ends up on top of
     your entertainment center?  We have church in our home every Sunday so
     often Bibles  are forgotten when  church is  over, I wonder  what they
     read during the week when their Bible is in my house, and they somehow
     end  up on the entertainment center, or  on one of the end tables, but
     eventually,  somebody puts it on the entertainment center.  So, here I
     am, trying to find a place to sit the phone down, or  maybe it was the
     remote, and my hand finds a Bible.  For one split second, I almost sat
     what I had  in my hand down on  top of the Bible.   then I stopped and
     said, "Nope.  I won't even do it now," and I didn't.   Nor should you.
     Why?  It is  called symbolism.  It is the same  when the American flag
     passes by during the  parade and off comes the hat or up goes the hand
     over your heart.  "Oh," you say, "it is just cloth," or, "the Bible is
     just paper  and real simulated  leather covers."   You can go  climb a
     long  rope, too, for  even thinking that.   Didn't  you learn anything
     from going  to Sunday school as a  kid?  Come on!   I suppose you have
     the same  nonchalant attitude about  the symbol of  a cross, too?   It
     figures.  No, silly.   We aren't worshiping  the Bible or the flag  or
     the cross; we  are worshiping Jesus.   Well, at least  I am.   Did you
     forget Jesus said  He was the  Word?  Yeah,  you did forget  that one,
     didn't you?  There is something to be said, however, about respect and
     what  is to be said about respect is  symbolism.  Stop and think about
     it  or get off  the bus.   Church is  over.  It  is time to  live what
     you've learned.  If you don't know Jesus by now, you've been listening
     to the wrong screwed up TV evangelist.  Speaking of which, I hope  the
     government  outlaws Christian radio and television  pretty soon.  Then
     maybe you'll go  back to church  and stop horsing  around on  Sundays.
     You know what I mean, Vern?

     Safe Place Fellowship
     Phil Scovell
     Denver, Colorado
     Mountain Time Zone

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