God’s Yellow Pages

I just got this in my email box:  a website called God’s Yellow Pages. Obviously, someone has gone through A LOT of work to set all of this up.  The premise behind it is that if you have any problem, all one needs to do is find the right verse of scripture and, like the commercials for the phone book Yellow Pages, your problem is solved.  The best part is that you don’t have to do much reading – most problems can be solved by reading only one verse of scripture!

Are you afraid?  Turn to Psalm 34:4.  ‘I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.’  What one does with the verse, the ‘Yellow Pages’ doesn’t tell.  I could assume that if one is afraid, one could meditate on it and over time, apprehension would lessen.  Still, if someone was pointing a gun to your head, I doubt he or she would give you the time to access the internet to find out which scripture verse to use in the particular situation and then more time for an impromptu lectio devina session.  Of course, I usually find that people who are of the sort that would go to this website (and those who would create it) usually want ‘answers’ to ‘solve’ the problem, rather than a form of spirituality.

I don’t mean to knock the faith of someone who would depend on this method.  It’s loads better than the method Methodism’s founder used (opening the bible at random and dropping the finger).  Still, I wonder about the theology behind this, comparing the Bible to the Yellow Pages.  What does it mean to read the bible as an ‘answer book’?  (I seem to remember a cartoon once where one person said, ‘The bible has all the answers to the questions you have?’ and the other person said, ‘Where’s my mobile phone?’)  This way of reading the bible says, ‘You don’t have to actually learn what’s going on, ask questions for yourself, and most importantly, understand there is a story going on’.  The Bible provides a pattern by which we live our lives into the story of God rather than a book that tells us that we are getting things ‘right’.

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