Christianity Today was kind enough to publish this piece here, as an intro to their new "R-Rated" Series for Preaching Today. Here's the intro:
The Bible is not a safe and sanitary book. One doesn’t have to look far in its pages for bloody battles, brutal gang-rapes, cities destroyed by fire, and most of humanity wiped out in a flood—and that’s just the beginning of Genesis. Christianity’s critics often claim that the God of the Old Testament is a genocidal maniac, a wife-beater, slave-driver, and an oppressive tyrant we need to be rescued from. It’s not uncommon to hear folks within the church pit Jesus against the God of the Old Testament.
So how do we deal honestly with these passages? As we preach through Scripture and come across such blood-splattered pages, how do we approach the blatant sex and violence, the greed and lust for power, the strange ceremonial laws and ritual sacrifices that seem so foreign to us today? How do we preach the R-rated passages of the Bible?
This series is designed to help you with precisely that question. Though these passages can be tough at first glance, I’ve found they hold a treasure for those willing to grapple with them. The Bible is not a cotton candy book; it deals with the hard and gritty realities of our world, the trauma and tragedies that plague our evening news. And the God it proclaims is wild and untamed, with a relentless, furious love that will stop at nothing to bring back his broken creation…
Check out the rest of the article here.