I remember the first time I heard the words over the radio and being intrigued by the message.
“There might be a little dust on the Bible, but don’t let it fool ya about what’s inside,” I heard. “There might be a little dust on the Bible. It’s one of those things that gets sweeter with time.”
A few listenings later, I realized that song was the 1995 country hit “Dust on the Bottle” by David Lee Murphy. I completely misheard it, thinking it was a song about how following the Bible instead of abusing a homemade bottle of wine might help a relationship thrive.
The Biblican message might not have been Murphy’s intent, but it is mine. As we celebrated the rising of Jesus Christ with Easter last weekend, I considered how much better our nation would be if we returned to our Christian principles detailed in the Bible.
We can say this was a country founded on Christian principles, but its secularization is in full gear. A Pew Research Center study released in December shows that just 63% of the U.S. population considered itself Christian, down from 75% just a decade prior. And 29% of U.S. adults call themselves “nones,” describing themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular.” In 2007, that number was just 16%.
I believe that’s because as a society, we’ve let a little too much dust settle on our Bibles. We’ve minimized the teachings of the risen Jesus Christ to namby-pamby exhortations to be nice to one another. It’s devolved to feel like Bill and Ted’s “be excellent to each other,” which of course was followed up by “party on, dudes.” God expects better of us than that.
I don’t expect the government to do anything but govern, but I do expect Christians to follow through on the religious teachings in their daily lives.
The Bible has some hard teachings in it, especially if you’re one of those people who takes an Old Testament reading out of context. The Bible often shows us how to live by showing us how not to live, highlighting all the consequences of bad behavior we’ve chosen with our free wills.
I know there are people scared away by traditional churches. They’re imperfect structures built by imperfect humans, to be sure. But if you’re going to a church for the people inside it, you’re missing the point.
The people are all going to let you down. They are all going to be sinners. We are all sinners. That’s why we needed a Savior who took on our sins in the first place and a church to pass on that message.
That’s why we continue to need a Savior. I choke up every time we sing “Amazing Grace” at church: “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.” I know I’m a wretch in need of a Savior.
If you’re looking for someone who won’t ever let you down, just think of that man, who also happens to be God, hanging on that cross.
If you don’t know about Him and everything He stands for, pick up that Good Book. There might be a little dust on the Bible, but don’t let it fool ya about what’s inside.
David Trinko is editor of The Lima News, a division of AIM Media Midwest. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.