what j.j. abrams taught me about reading the Bible.

Written by Mandy Thompson

She’s just a girl with a guitar. And, in a perfect world, Mandy would spend her days writing songs and soaking up the sun. But, life is life. And, while not perfect, her life is good. She serves as Director of Congregational Services at The Chapel, in Brunswick GA. If you asked her about her position, she’d say her main course involves developing worship experiences, with a side of creative design and social media for dessert. Tasty!

March 20, 2012

I wish I could say I read It and It all makes sense and I never have any questions. I wish I could say that I don’t see contradictions, I just see compliments and clarifications. I wish I could say that It’s crystal clear.

But sometimes I read and think on the Word and I come up confused.

I wish I didn’t have to work so hard to understand It.

Enter our theologians, to help us make sense of the riddles and seemingly contradictory elements of Scripture. And I’m thankful for their time, but I wish they weren’t necessary. Why do we need to explain God’s confusing parts? We didn’t make them. We didn’t write them. We didn’t declare them to be so. But we’re the ones responsible for understanding and finding harmony and making sense of things. Whew. It. Is. Hard.

Anyway, I told my brilliant Bible-scholar preacher husband that, to me, theologians are like the janitors of Christianity. (cringe) He smiled a patient smile and said he thinks Theologians are the explorers of Christianity. That’s a nicer way of saying it, I suppose. Maybe exploration is the only way to really make sense of It. Maybe the wanderings are there for a reason. Maybe the questions are what pull us forward, like the crazy twists and turns in the TV Series LOST.

Would I have gotten so sucked in to that show if it all made sense and there were no cliff-hangers and no need to figure out why in the world Polar Bears were on a tropical island?

Mmm nope.

And would I have watched all of it in just a few months on Netflix if someone had sat me down and explained all of it ahead of time?

Nope again.

I feel like there are important moments in life, pivotal spiritual wrestlings, that people feel compelled to clean up and interpret for us. And their interpretations have often left me feeling empty and imposed on. I need to work this out for myself. I’m not asking for help. I’ve got to own this.

Even if the ending is as confusing as the last season of LOST and we’ll never know why certain things happened the way they did, I’ve still gotta see this through to the end.


  1. Stephanie Spencer

    Love this! Yes, I think the mystery is
    part of what keeps us coming back. I also think of Isaiah 55:9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
    If God is really the Creator of this world, I am perfectly comfortable with Him
    being beyond my understanding. 

    • mandythompson

      🙂 Thanks for these thoughts, Stephanie!

  2. Nancy Franson

    Loved the title of this, so I had to click over. And, YES! I love that it doesn’t all make sense. There is mystery and paradox and some of it makes my brain hurt. But, over and over, God keeps revealing himself as good. And He keeps me coming back for more.

    • mandythompson

      Ironically, I’m the one that throws my hands up over the mysteries in Scripture, and my smart Bible-husband that marvels over those mysteries is the one throwing his hands up after watching the final season of Lost. Oh well! 🙂

  3. Nikole Hahn

    Sometimes, what doesn’t make sense now suddenly becomes illuminated later…the aha moment. 


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what j.j. abrams taught me about reading the Bible.

by Mandy Thompson time to read: 2 min