Recently, the Conservative Bible Project has made some headlines. If you are not familiar with the project, it is an attempt to remove liberal biases from the Bible from the folks at Conservapedia. The criteria they use include things like using "powerful conservative terms," and avoiding wordiness. The thinking is liberals are verbose and obscure. They aim to recast Jesus into their image. While it may easy to poke fun at this exercise, or make a flippant remark about conservatives in general, it says something deeper about our relationship to scripture and Jesus. First, it is very important to note that many conservatives have come out against this project. So I do not believe that this is mainstream conservative thinking.
Now looking at the details can illustrate how we humans want to remake the Bible and Jesus into our images. Mark 7.21-22 is translated to "Because, from inside of the heart come evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder, theft, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lustfulness, an evil eye, blasphemy, unwarranted pride, and foolishness." The major difference is that "pride" is rendered "unwarranted pride." The idea is that there are some prides that are warranted. For Conservapedia, pride is a good thing and as such Jesus must have meant pride that was unearned and had to endorse earned pride. Being prideful fits into their worldview about being self-reliant, so Jesus must have attacked unwarranted pride.
Of course, this flies in face our need of God's grace and need for a humble heart. Jesus' words challenge Consevapedia's worldview. They also challenge my worldview, as they should. The truth is, all Christians try to remake God into our image. This is the very definition of the sin of pride. Liberals, conservatives, libertarians, socialists, and Christians all have fallen short of the glory of God. Then we try to use God as justification for our own biases, making the word of God an echo chamber.
Once, a theology professor made a comment I keep coming back to. He said if you read the Bible and it does not challenge you, then you are reading yourself and not the Bible. Many times reading the Bible, I have had to confront something in myself that I wish to avoid. "Love my enemies" means wishing they would come to my way thinking? Right?
Ernesto Tinajero is a freelance writer in Spokane, Washington, who earned his master's degree in theology from Fuller Seminary. Visit his blog at beingandfaith.blogspot.com.