My Favorite Book - High School Retreat Reflection

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By LELIA TOLBERT, High School Student and Glenn Youth Member

A lot of people say that they are religious. They’ve grown up going to some sort of religious gathering with their family and taken part in specific traditions where they sing songs, eat good food, and repeat the words from the bulletin. But there is a difference between showing up and having a relationship with your faith. 

It took a good 38 hours in the woods of Northern Georgia with no cell service for me to step into a new type of mindset on what religion means to me. It's kind of ironic actually because I’ve grown up in a Methodist church my whole life and haven’t even read the bible. I’ve seen a couple of good movies and TV shows on the Bible but I had never sat down with the most popular book ever written in the world and tried to understand it. The nice thing about getting away for a weekend with a group of other people my age with the same questions and lack of understanding as me was that we all had a chance to take our first step in trying to understand what some of the major stories from the Bible represent both literally and metaphorically.

In our thick packets filled with excerpts from the Bible that we discussed throughout our weekend, there was one line from John 14:6 that stuck out to me... “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. We spent a good hour in my group trying to understand the meaning behind this one sentence and I’ll save you the expense, we never did come to a consensus on the meaning because out of the 6 people in my group, we all interpreted this line differently, some with a positive connotation and other's with a negative one.'

You can’t interpret the Bible through one lens or view it under one genre. What makes the Bible so great is that it’s a novel, it’s a poem, it’s a short story, it’s history, it’s a mystery, it’s a biography, it’s a romance, and it’s a horror story. It’s everything, and for that reason, you can’t just pick up the Bible and read it like you would a magazine or a newspaper. You have to break it up into chunks and read each scripture, gospel, and parable with the setting and time in mind and then think about ways it can connect to your personal life in 2019. 

The bible doesn’t have to be some scary leather book that sits in a dusty corner of your room. I have found that the more I read and learn about the bible, the more I develop my own personal interpretations of its words and how I can use them to create my own morals and my own perspective of the world around me. I would definitely say that it’s one of the craziest books I’ve ever read and so far, as of right now, I’m only on the first page of the Book of Genesis.