Not everything in the Bible is comfortable.
In fact, it has more weird, uncomfortable, racy, thought provoking, evil, and scary stories of any book I’ve ever read. But those stories aren’t the ones you hear about in Sunday School. They usually aren’t the ones that are preached about. I mean … they make people squirm. Especially Christians. Which is probably why most of the Bible is neutered and cleaned up and Westernized, from Noah’s Ark to Jesus being best friends with a terrorist. It’s easy to just ignore the “bad” stories and focus on the good and happy stories.
But I think God meant for all of the stories to be told. I don’t need to make Him look good by not telling the bad stories of the Bible. He’s a big guy. He can take care of himself.
These are some stories that wouldn’t make it into a Sunday School. For very good reasons.
That Story When God Says to Be Fruitful and Multiply
Genesis 1:28a. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”
So Adam begat Seth, Seth begat Enosh, Enosh begat Kenan, Kenan–
Whoa whoa whoa whoa. Hold on here. That’s just … not suitable for children. But I sure wondered about this when I was little.
I remember the conversation well.
“Mom, who did Cain and Abel marry?” I asked.
“If Adam and Eve were the only people in the world, how could Cain and Abel marry?”
“Uhhhh,” she stalled. “They found wives.”
“Who were their wives?”
“Just … women,” she said.
“They had to marry their SISTERS, okay?” Mom said.
So I guess incest is wrong on all occasions, unless the human population would die out. Then your selfless act of saving humanity would be to sleep with your sister. I can’t help but still wonder a few things: Was it weird for them? Was it okay, since God hadn’t given any laws against it yet? Since they didn’t have any taboo against incest did it seem normal? Eesh.
That Story When Lot Offered His Daughters To A Mob
Let me paraphrase the story for you:
Two angels arrive at Sodom. (Yep, the same Sodom that God barbecued)
Lot, a “righteous” man, sees them and BEGS them to stay at his house.
“We’d rather not,” the angels said. “We’re just going to sleep in the square.”
“NO YOU DO NOT WANT TO DO THAT,” Lot says and they concede and stay at his house.
That night, men gathered from all around the town, both young and old, and surrounded Lot’s house.
“Bring those two visitors out, Lot! We want to rape them!” They call.
“No, no, no,” Lot says. “Don’t do such a wicked thing.” (At this point, I’m sure Lot is pretty nervous to have a sex-crazed mob outside his door so he does what any father intent on self-preservation would do) “I have two virgin daughters I can throw out to you. Do anything you want with them, but leave the men alone because they are under my protection.”
And then the mob moved forward to break down the door but the angels brought out their laser guns and blinded the whole mob.
*stands on soapbox* First off, I’m not sure how people can cite this story as God wanting to destroy homosexuals. After all, this is not an example of people of the same sex sleeping together. This is a story about gang rape. So, if we want to be Biblically accurate, it is rapists who should be called Sodomites, not homosexuals. *steps off soapbox*
Now let’s just wait here a freakin’ second. Lot offered his daughters to be raped by a mob to protect himself and the men he’d taken in. Whoa! Yoiks. He’s definitely not getting father-of-the-year award.
What lesson is there in that story for our children? First off: be thankful you don’t have Lot for a dad. Second: You want to be near some of God’s messengers in any type of dangerous situations because those guys have some seriously awesome superpowers.
That Story About David Watching Saul Take A Poop
1 Samuel 24. Saul is furious at David because all the chicks like David better, and they even make up songs about how David has killed more men then Saul. So Saul starts chasing David all around the country in order to pierce him through the heart with his spear.
All that walking makes him have to go. Ya know. “Sit on the throne.” Take a dump. Drop a log. Push out the croutons or whatever you kids are calling it these days.
Unfortunately for everyone involved, David and his men were hiding in the back of the cave. Yeah, Saul had terrible luck.
I can just imagine David and his mighty men whispering to each other in the darkness.
“Dang, Uriah. That hummus was not kind to you.”
“It wasn’t me.”
“Ugh, it’s getting worse.”
“Will you shut up! It’s Saul!”
“Ha! Blaming it on Saul, again? We’ve heard that one before.”
“NO really, it’s SAUL. Right there!”
And then they’d see the King of Israel doing his business, all red faced and straining, right there at the mouth of the cave and I can’t help but think they’d be a little embarrassed.
This actually might be a good story to teach kids. It has a valuable lesson tied into it: if you’ve gotta take a poop, be sure the room is clear or there’ll be some embarrassing and maybe even life-threatening consequences.
The Story About Sexual Pleasures
There’s a whole book in the Bible just about relationships and sex. Some verses are so explicit that Jewish boys weren’t allowed to read the book until they were 12 yrs old. Which is probably why all Jewish boys had probably read it by the time they were 10. Solomon wrote it because he was an absolute pro when it came to sex. After all, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. 1000! Which might not be completely accurate, but 1000 is Biblespeak for “too many to count.” That means it’d take almost three years to have sex with all of his wives–what a busy busy busy man. But there seems to be one girl that stood out to him, and from what we can tell from the text she was a commoner, and she had a lot of brothers.
So he wrote a song about their relationship, and named it Song of Songs.
It has one of the most romantic phrases I’ve ever heard, “I am my beloved’s, and he is mine.”
He talks about courtship. He talks about in-laws. He talks about what her girlfriends think about him. He talks about how to resolve conflict in a relationship. And he talks about browsing among the lilies, lips like scarlet ribbons, eyes like doves, summits of Hermon, going into the mountain of myrrh, lips dripping with honey, blowing on my garden, tasting choice fruits, bodies like polished ivory,
“Eat, friends, and drink;
drink your fill of love,” he says.
It’s all rather embarrassing to teach to wide-eyed 5th graders at VBS. It makes a rather awkward felt-people play don’t you think?
The Story About Skeletons Coming To Life
(by Keith Parkinson, go check out his amazing work)
I would paraphrase this if I thought I could do better, but it’s just so cool and weird as is:
A Valley of Dry Bones
1 The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. 2 He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. 3 Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”
“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”
4 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! 5This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! 6 I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
7 So I spoke this message, just as he told me. Suddenly as I spoke, there was a rattling noise all across the valley. The bones of each body came together and attached themselves as complete skeletons. 8 Then as I watched, muscles and flesh formed over the bones. Then skin formed to cover their bodies, but they still had no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to the winds, son of man. Speak a prophetic message and say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Come, O breath, from the four winds! Breathe into these dead bodies so they may live again.’”
10 So I spoke the message as he commanded me, and breath came into their bodies. They all came to life and stood up on their feet—a great army.
“So, kids. What did we learn from the story?” -Me to my preschool Sunday School class
-Preschool Sunday School class shivering in fear under the table.
“Tell me! What did you learn?”
“Uhhh,” one girl says timidly. “That God raises up Skeleton Armies.”
“Right! And you know what the moral of the story is? Um …. me neither. But it’s creepy, aye?”
For some reason their mothers complained to me about their children not able to sleep, their kids saying something about hearing the rattling of bones, the stretch of flesh and sinews, and zombie armies. I told them I was just teaching the Bible. And then I asked if they’d ever read about the dowry David gave to Saul so he could marry Michal? Eesh. You don’t want to hear that story.
What Bible stories will you never hear about in Sunday School?