Any animal that has divided hoofs and is cleft-footed and chews the cud—such you may eat. But among those that chew the cud or have divided hoofs, you shall not eat the following: the camel, for even though it chews the cud, it does not have divided hoofs; it is unclean for you. (Leviticus 11:3-4)
“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school…it is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.”
- Henry David Thoreau
By Thoreau’s definition, all Christians are philosophers. As people of faith in Christ, we are able “to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically.” The greatest instinct we humans possess, is the instinct for survival. Through Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, we humans have the opportunity for life beyond the grave, to survive eternally.
Many of the Biblical laws and Jesus’ parables and sermons dealt with practical matters. The Jewish food laws were, in part, to assist the people from acquiring illnesses. Practical! Jesus’ exorcisms were an ancient attempt to address any number of issues, including mental illness. Practical! Even Jesus’ beatitudes were a way of transforming society’s views of the poor. Practical!
Today, think about the Biblical examples you can find that were practical in nature. The Bible is not some book of platitudes, but was a way for the “chosen people” to live happy and healthy lives. Practical! The Bible is not entirely otherworldly, but is steeped in the practicality of this world and how to live in the here and now. Today, take some time and read different passages in the Bible. Ask yourself, what is the story line, and what meaning would it have for the reader in that time? Answering this question is the first step in learning how to live as people of faith in our world, today. Reading the Bible in this manner opens new doors to understanding.