A few weeks ago, I complained about how Sunday Schools teach Bible stories that make either the Bible completely unappealing because everyone is a saint, or it sanitizes stories that are incredibly hard to digest and process. Well, today, I’d like to remind us of the stories I WISH Sunday Schools would teach – not because they are appropriate for children but because they are awesome.
Most people, when they think of Bible stories, don’t really consider comedy and potty humor to be part of them. They think of the Good Samaritan or Moses and the Red Sea. You know, morality plays or epic situations. And there are many of these types of stories to be found in the Bible. Otherwise, people usually think the Bible to be full of rules, lists of people who begat other people, and a bunch of overly religious prattle.
But that’s not true. Yes, there are boring bits, but personally, I think there are far more interesting snippets that if we learned them when we were younger, we’d be utterly hooked on the Bible because it is a crazy book!! (I’m not even including the insane acid-trip that is the book of Revelations.)
Here then, are two Bible stories that I submit for your edification. One that I find terribly intriguing and the other I find awesomely hilarious. What this says about me is uncertain except perhaps that I have somewhat deranged sensibilities.
1) Angels have sex with human women and make Nephilim babies!!
Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. […] The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.
– Genesis 6:1-2, 4 (NASB)
WHAT??? This is like, barely making it through the first few chapters of the Bible and we get freaky angel/human sex that results in GIANTS!! I mean, I get why they gloss over this detail in Sunday School but OMG! The original urban fantasy novel!! And it’s just matter-of-factly summed up in three verses. WHY? Why wouldn’t they include more information on this? Instead, this is just served as the backdrop and setup for Noah and the Great Flood. BORING! I want more crazy angel sex!
2) Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal and Asherah
Here’s the tl;dr version. After a long drought in Israel (which Elijah announced before it happened as God’s curse), Elijah wanted to prove to the Israelites that God was more powerful than the false gods they were worshiping. So Elijah challenges 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah to a very public demonstration. He has two altars built and completely drenched in water. Then he has two bulls sacrificed, one for each altar. Whoever’s god can light the sacrifice on fire is the True God.
Elijah lets the prophets go first and they beg Baal and Asherah for hours, cutting themselves, sweating, dancing, and pleading. Elijah mocks them and gleefully says, “You’ll have to shout louder than that […] to catch the attention of your god! Perhaps he is talking to someone, or is out sitting on the toilet, or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be wakened!” (1 Kings 18:27 TLB, emphasis mine)
I don’t know why this is my all-time favorite story but I suspect it has something to do with Elijah asking if the gods are out dropping a deuce and are therefore indisposed and cannot be bothered to send fire for the sacrifice. It is literal shit-talking!
Why don’t they teach this version of the story in Sunday School? Most translations use the euphemism “busy” instead of “pooping” – which is a shame because OMG, HILARITY.
I mean, really! The Bible is terrible and bewildering – full of totally fucked up people and unbelievable setups and resolutions. And yet somehow, this long, continuous and continuing epic love story of God pursuing completely undeserving people is how God chooses to communicate (in writing, no less!) to us. (And not because we’re so great – but because He’s so great. Of course, your theological mileage may vary on that interpretation.)
Can you imagine if we taught this in Sunday School? No kid would ever complain about the Bible being boring again! Off the top of my head, I can recount at least two or three more stories that reference pooping or peeing (of course, because I am twelve), a few that involve gruesome humor, and many more that are achingly beautiful. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
Furthermore, we’d get a far more nuanced, sarcastic, and scathingly funny God. (And yes, compassionate, passionate, loving, and gentle God, too.) Far better to reject a God we are a little more accurately depicting than to worship a god about whom we are completely deluded.
What about you? What are your favorite (for any reason) Bible stories and why?