The cross is as ugly as it is beautiful. Ugly because of the physical pain and betrayal. Beautiful because of the love and forgiveness Jesus showed for those who murdered him.
The Bible is full of Weird Crap. Can I get an Amen?
There's a lot of weird crap in the Bible, but I'm so glad that the cross is the lens I see God through.
I don't know the answers to those questions (and I don't have to). But I do know about the cross. No matter what crazy Bible stories I read, no matter what crap happens in life, I know that the cross is the most crystal clear picture of God's heart for humanity and for me. Jesus dying on the cross, forgiving his enemies and forgiving me. That is God. That is beautiful. So if I'm on my death bed and I still haven't figured out my view of creation, Jonah and the whale or the Old Testament slaughters, that's OK. I know Jesus on the cross.
(I gotta give a shout out to my church which did a sermon series a while back called "Revolting Beauty." That might not have been the first time that title was used, but that's where I first heard it.)