Q & R: The nastier bits of the Bible?

Here’s the Q:

Thank you so much for your work and fresh theology. I like the way you interpret the Bible and Jesus. My question is how you handle the nastier bits. Like Jesus bringing a sword of division. Or nobody getting to God except through him. These two verses seem in conflict with the rest of the message. How should we look at them. Can a Christian just throw them out as inconsistent, or is hostility part of Jesus and potentially God? I have been walking the fringe of Christianity for about 4 years. I listened to the entire bible in less than a month last year and from that mile high view it seems like there is lots of ego mixed in with clear moments of transcendent grace.

I believe I have experienced the spirit and I feel Gods presence at times, but I also cringe at dogma that defends hostility and judgment of the other which seems so apparent to me in much of the Bible.

Here’s the R:

Thanks for your encouragement. On “nobody getting to God except through Jesus,” I hope you’ll check out my e-book, Is Jesus the Only Way? It’s available here: https://brianmclaren.net/store/

And for a healthier approach to the Bible that puts those “nastier bits” in perspective, I’d recommend you read Chapters 4-6 of The Great Spiritual Migration and Chapters 4 – 11 of A New Kind of Christianity. I think you’d find them helpful.

May we all move forward from interpreting those cringe-worthy bits in cringe-worthy ways, as you say!