The Bible’s Rough Neighborhoods: Navigating The Scary Stuff In Scripture

john pavlovitz


Many years ago, as part of my freshman orientation during the first week of college in inner-city Philadelphia, someone from the school took out a map and showed us all the “rough neighborhoods” surrounding the campus so we would know the places we should avoid if we wanted to stay out of trouble. These were the spots they said, that smart people never traveled through.

Most Christians don’t really want to talk about the fact that the Bible has some pretty rough neighborhoods too; scores of verses and passages that are confusing, shocking, and downright dangerous as we seek to understand and comfortably fit them within a tidy belief system of a God who is good and perfect, and whose ways are without flaw.

Many pastors, authors, and professional speakers understand this all too well, and as a result most of them carve out a comfortable career path through only the clear, simple, and easily…

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