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Monday, April 07, 2008
The Year of Living Biblically Week 2
1. What does it mean to live biblically?

A.J. Jacobs shares the insight he gets on biblical interpretation from Steven Greenberg, the first out-of-the-closet gay orthodox Jewish Rabbi:

"The whole Bible is the working out of the relationship between God and man," says Greenberg. "God is not a dictator barking out orders and demanding silent obedience. Were it so, there would be no relationship at all. No real relationship goes just one way. There are lways two active parties. We must have reverence and awe for God and honor for the chain of tradition. But that doesn't mean we can't use new information to help us read the holy texts in new ways...Never blame a text from the Bible for your behavior. It's irresponsible. Anybody who says X,Y and Z is in the bible -- it's as if one says, 'I have no role in evaluating this.'"


2. What ways have you experienced a happy cooperation between mind and Spirit in the Word coming to life for you?

3. Have you ever used "the bible says..." as a cop out when you didn't actually believe what you were saying?

4. What, in your opinion is the healthiest way we can approach biblical texts with which our spirits deep down cannot agree, at least in terms of a traditional interpretation of the passage?




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posted by Jemila Kwon at 6:43 PM ¤ Permalink ¤


4 Comments:


  • At 4/08/2008 07:23:00 AM, Blogger Nancy

    In answer to question #4: I think what helps me is to remember that the authors of the Bible were not taking dictation from God. They were people influenced by their culture and the norms of that culture of that point in time. What they wrote came from that complex mix betweeen human experience and the promptings of the Spirit. The Spirit may be timeless but obviously, the thoughts and understanding of man are limited. Like any of us who feel inspired by the Spirit to write of our experiences of life as a follower of Christ, we also bring our own human understanding and biases to what we write. It is not so much either/or but both/and. So when I bump up against things that strike me as "wrong" in the Word, I keep this in mind and rely as best I can on the Spirit to guide me as to the best way to go. What helps is to keep things simple...is this the most loving, beautiful thing to do? If not, what is?

     
  • At 4/09/2008 06:31:00 AM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    Nancy, I love how simple, grace and truth-filled this is:

    "Is this the most loving, beautiful thing o do? If not, what is?"

     
  • At 4/11/2008 05:31:00 PM, Blogger Jemila Kwon

    My cop out area:

    I remember having countless conversations in college about different passages and how could it be in the bible, because we KNEW the bible was without error, but we didn't AGREE with the passage. This was cause of a lot of spiritual anxiety. I think as a result of this inner tension, I sometimes was argumentative and imposing about what the bible said and trying to get others to take it seriously, because I myself had doubts.

    For me, nowhere was this more evident than in evangelism. Part of me actually couldn't believe that God would let all of humanity's eternal destiny rest on whether people believed the right stuff about Jesus -- yet it was in the bible and I also was appalled at how others who apparently believed "more" than I did, or at least appeared to have a lot more certainty, seemed to not prioritize evangelism. I, on the hand, went around alienating (and occasionally ministering with/to) whoever I could. Even as my old fundamentalism was on the way out, I still used even my doubts to aggressively evangelize and show others how "I'm not like other Christians, and therefor you can/should be a Christian too."

     
  • At 4/12/2008 07:05:00 PM, Blogger medium guy

    My confession - I used to follow a "scriptural algorithim," as it were, to "evangelize" friends and acquaintances. And now I find myself , years later, with no friends and few acquaintances. Coincidence? Methinks not. Not that I'm bitter at my spiritual immaturity and thus indirectly at conservative/fundamentalist Christian culture in the USA or anything...
    Well, thankfully bitterness is slowly normalizing, and now I have the taste of a ripe avocado as opposed to a bitter gourd - perhaps tomorrow we'll be at starfruit level.

     

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