Wednesday, April 30, 2008

[THO] Let the Scriptures Live

Jim West pointed out this interesting post at James McGrath's blog. It raises the question of if/when it is appropriate to question the Bible. This is a really important question. If the Bible is just to be accepted carte blanche then there are several problems that rear their ugly heads.

First this turns the scriptures into a tyrrant, or at least it turns them into a powerful tool for tyrrants to dominate the Church of the ignorant. This is part in parcel of any religion/faith that discourages us to think. The problem is who's interpretation is untouchable? And the bigger question of Why?

Second it reduces what should be living scriptures to dead words on a page. The scriptures are meant to live in our community. They are meant to be polysemic, a locus of revelation. But revelation where we are fully readers and fully interpreters. That can only happen if we have the guts to question scripture. When we take that away we rob the church of her greatest physical asset.

Third, and finally, and I think probably the most important: the scriptures are not honoured. Seriously, how is it honouring to the scriptures to never raise questions? When I honour something in my life I don't make it into an idol, never to be touched or questioned. No, I engage with, learn everything I can from and embrace all I can get from the object of my honour. To honour the scriptures is to ask deep questions and even to be open to answers that I didn't expect. To honour the scriptures I don't make them into what I want them to be, but I embrace them for what they are. I don't turn them into a trite love letter, but treat them as the Word of God. I don't use the scriptures to assert power over others, but allow them to shape me into a servant for all.

Something to think about.

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