I have been thinking lately about how humans use the Bible - the ancient, timeless text meant to teach us about God's redemptive plan for the universe, culminating in the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, the Christ.

I have been thinking about how we use the Bible as a weapon.

I am getting ready to preach soon about the covenant with Noah - God's unilateral promise to never again destroy the earth and humanity through a Great Flood. The flood that was sent because God saw that the whole earth was "filled with violence."

The word used for violence in this Old Testament story refers to the strong taking advantage of the weak, the well off using the poor, those with power wielding it with utter disregard for the powerless. Sound familiar?

This is the type of violence that prompted God's anger. Thus, The Flood.

It stuns me, then, that we humans continue this kind of violence against each other, often using the Bible and passages yanked out of context, to demean, diminish and demoralize our fellow human beings. Frail and fallible, all of us.

The Bible as a weapon ...

No wonder people are streaming out of our churches.

What if we instead engaged the Scriptures to help us understand the narrative arc of God's Redemptive Plan?

What if instead of clobbering people with the Bible, we welcomed them into God's Good Story?

What if we stopped inflicting violence on people with the Scriptures?

What if we engaged the Bible afresh with curiosity, rather than certainty?

"Never again," God said. "Never again will I destroy what I have created with a Great Flood."

What if we said "never again" to destroying a fellow human being with the Bible?