"You Can Look It Up"

My mother used to say this to me all the time when I was a kid. The conversations in our home were usually about politics or theology. Some of the conversations were arguments. But all of the arguments ended with an awareness that we were still family…and if there was company that you were still a friend.

     We were looking for the truth. And truth was hammered out over the anvil of vigorous discussion by people who cared about the truth. I had no concept of that well-worn phrase, "You can talk about anything but religion or politics." For us, the other topics seemed trivial.

     Our conversations also employed a wide vocabulary. It was assumed that you knew the big words, and the history and culture of the Christian West. If not, that was a deficiency on your part, and you needed to catch up.

     I loved those debates. Over time I was allowed to participate. But whenever I asked what a particular word meant I was told, "You can look it up." No one at the table was about to define a word for me. I had resources and was expected to use them.

     In those primitive times, my resources were a dictionary and an encyclopedia set. They were my friends and tutors.

     Why bring this up? Because these days we are frequently told that "The Bible is too hard to understand." Wait…too hard for a generation that has Google and Wikipedia? On their phones? With a data plan?

     The New King James Version, First John 2:2, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."

     I've often made the snide joke that "A modern teenager can go a whole week without using the word propitiation." Although true, I no longer say it. I stopped when I realized that this sentence is an excuse that would not have been allowed around the dining room table of my childhood home.

     Wikipedia, "propitiation": (from Latin propitiare, "to appease;" from propitius, "gracious") is the act of appeasing or making well-disposed a deity, thus incurring divine favor or avoiding divine retribution.

     It's as easy as finding the lyrics to Taylor Swift's or Wiz Khalifa's latest hit. Except that this time the search added a word to my vocabulary, clarified the Word of God, and told me what John was saying about Christ.

     Although at times I miss the actual page-turning of the encyclopedia, the internet is a blessing for the access to knowledge available with a couple points and clicks. Blessings to your "looking it up" and the shaping of our lives that this produces.

God Bless,

Pastor Walt