Fernando: This template or framework, it seems to persons like myself, distorts and obscures the Bible's central message and intent.
I would suggest that modern, loving, pacifist Christianity that embraces people of all nations and respects individual rights and independence, is far removed from the bible's original intent. I think we have blanketed the bible to satisfy our reality. Not that this is a bad thing. To embrace our fellow man and strive for peace is a noble goal.
I do not believe the bible has a central message. Different ages and texts are at odds with each other. Christians tie themselves in knots trying to reconcile it's component parts.
Fernando: Have you managed to extract and keep anything good from the Bible? How?
By eating the meat and spitting out the bones.
Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
Matthew 25: 34-40 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me a a drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in, Naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.
Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, Lord, when have we seen You hungry and have fed You, or thirsty and have given You a drink? And when have we seen You a stranger and have taken You in, or naked and have clothed You? And when have we seen You sick or in prison and have come to You?
And the King will answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of these, the least of My brothers, you have done it to Me.
Psalm 50:10 For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
Mark 9:38-39 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. 41I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.
The Stone Diaries, Motherhood, page 175: Of siblings reminiscing, "They shudder with the heat of their own dramas, awestruck by the doubleness of memory, the hold it has on them, as mysterious as telephone wires or the halo around the head of the baby Jesus. Memory could be poked with a stick, savoured in the mouth like a popsicle, you could never get enough of it."
Martin Luther King by Miller, page 285 "King told the crowd that he was often advised to slow down the pace of the freedom revolution, that time would tke care of things. But time is neutral.'It can be used constructively and it can be used destructively. Unfortunately, the extremist, right-wing elements use their time more effectively."...Racism, he said, was a way of life for the vast majority of white Americans. The Poor People's Campaign had to control this ... The campaign would 'call attention to the gap between promises and fulfillment - to make the invisible visible.'"
From Mark Twain in "What is Man?" We are always hearing of people who are around seeking after the Truth. I have never seen a (permanent) specimen. I think he has never lived. But I have seen several entirely sincere people who thought they were (permanent) Seekers after the Truth. They sought diligently, persistently, carefully, cautiously, profoundly, with perfect honesty and nicely adjusted judgment- until they believed that without doubt or question they had found the Truth. That was the end of the search. The man spent the rest of his hunting up shingles wherewith to protect his Truth from the weather.
Theodore Roosevelt, " It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory or defeat."