#997 – The Brick Bible

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Brick Bible

I love Costco; it is probably my favorite store. Since it’s only Alycia and me, people wonder how we could ever use that much toilet paper or that much cheese. I think people underestimate my desire for cleanliness and my love of smoked Gouda.

I was walking through Costco yesterday looking for obscenely large jars of peanut butter and Christmas gifts for my nieces. I didn’t find gifts for all of my nieces, but I do know what I won’t be getting them: The Brick Bible.

While in the book section I saw The Brick Bible. The Brick Bible is an illustrated version of the Bible. It looks a lot like a comic book but, instead of drawings, the stories are illustrated through photographs of Legos. The Brick Bible is very creative and the photos are truly impressive.

I received The Brick Bible as a gift a few Christmases ago. As I thumbed through it for the first time I appreciated its creativity. I love the Bible and it was fun to see it translated in such a unique manner. As I read it more thoroughly, though, I realized that The Brick Bible definitely has a slant.

The Brick Bible’s author, Brendan Powell Smith, chooses to focus on certain parts of the Bible. Anything that is bloody, violent, exclusive or offensive gets highlighted. There are fewer examples of God’s love, his plan to redeem humanity and the forgiveness we have in his Son. The Brick Bible paints a very narrow image of the Bible, refusing to give the entire picture of humanity’s brokenness and God’s unconditional love.

The Brick Bible’s website claims to remain true to the text of the scriptures and even admonishes other illustrated Bibles. From the website:

There are many other illustrated Bibles whose authors take a free hand in completely re-writing the Bible’s stories, adding or subtracting from them as they see fit, often giving the stories re-interpretations that try to force them to fit a certain modern sense of morality or a particular post-Biblical theology. Although well-meaning, these authors do not let the Bible speak for itself, and do not provide an experience that is much like reading the actual Bible at all.

On the surface this could sound like someone who wants the Bible to stand on its own. However, Smith’s intention is to take the Bible out of its own context as well as remove it from any church tradition. By focusing on biblical stories of violence and oppression and ignoring the truths of love and redemption, Smith is engaging in his own adding and subtracting.

There are definitely some difficult parts of the Bible but we can’t understand them by taking them out of context. Stories of murder and genocide are hard to swallow, but we need to see how they fit in the overall narrative of the Bible. We can also benefit by looking at the writings of the early church fathers and the creeds that bind all Christians together.

So while it may be creative, we shouldn’t rely on The Brick Bible to tell us anything true about God. And it may be fun for an adult with a solid faith to look through, but I don’t think children should be allowed to read The Brick Bible. As we grow in our faith we learn how to deal with difficult passages of scripture, but that’s not something an eight-year-old needs to worry about.

Have you ever read The Brick Bible?


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