here is the original intro to the genesis series i'd written for our teaching atlas...but which we - somehow - forget to put in it (to this day, i still have no idea how that happened):
In my short life I've demonstrated a penchant for kicking the proverbial bee's nest.
It’s always played out in my life as a bit of the "contrarian" gene -
At least, that's what Ben Redmond calls it -
He claims my first response is to poke holes in everything I see or hear or read.
Sometimes I begin to get so bothered that I can't stop thinking about something,
Especially when things don't add up the way they should.
Like about tithing, for instance;
Or the popular notion that Christians are supposed to hate the world;
Or that the phrase "chasing after the wind" is supposed to be really meaningful (in its ironic meaninglessness).
Or this whole schtick about Genesis being a kind of historical recipe for how God made the world
For several years I’ve just ignored this itch I’ve had that there’s more going on there.
I’ve been content to think it about it later.
But then I couldn't stop thinking about it.
And I just kept studying and studying.
And, before long, I realized that it certainly wasn't a recipe.
Which sated my irritation for a while.
I had the satisfaction of knowing that there was more there than we're truly unearthed as of yet.
As time went on,
It began to bug me.
It couldn't just be a poem, could it?
That would suck -
That would mean it was one of the most oft-misunderstood and ultimately powerless pieces of the biblical text.
Which - for the very reason alone that it is at the very beginning - just didn't sit well with me.
So I began to dig,
And then it popped.
Smashed me in the face.
Changed my life.
Changed my mind.
Changed my heart.
Rushed into me over and over again,
And I came into new life.
Because it has great meaning.
Because it has great power.
Power to change.
Power to see.
Power to bring about reconciliation.
And so...here we go again.
I do my best to approach this with humility -
But I feel myself crackling with enthusiasm -
And I don't want to diminish the latter for fear of subduing the former.
This Teaching Atlas represents two years of intense personal study. If – at age 31 – there is such a thing as a life’s work, then this is mine. I’m sharing it with you because it gets to the very core of who I believe God has called us to be and what we’re supposed to be doing while we’re here in this world.
I believe that Genesis 1 is the most important piece of the Bible. Without understanding it properly, we misunderstand Jesus’ Incarnation, the Arrival of the Holy Spirit, and the redemptive plans of God for this world.
It’s at the beginning of the Bible for a reason.
It’s the starting point – the piece of the story that sets up everything coming after it.
I hope you’ll get way more out of it – and everything else – after diving in with both feet.
And now, let us begin in the beginning…