Monday, October 16, 2006

Bible Schmible

We spent a good deal of time talking about hermeneutics at the last cohort meeting. Rollins holds a high view of Scripture and that comes through in his book. (I'm aware that "high view" is full of ambiguity, but it appears higher than my own.) After discussing Rollins's view of Scripture as well as N.T. Wright's attempt to negotiate a "third way" to read Scripture between literalism and liberalism, I posed the question: how do we read Scripture in such a way that it provides for the freedom and egalitarianism in which most of us believe? Our group was somewhere between a third and a half female, and I'm really curious to hear from them how they read it in ways that provides for a feminist voice. I'm also curious about how others more conservative than myself but still intrigued by Emergent want to read it. I'll post more about my thoughts concerning Scripture later, but I want to start this conversation before the next cohort meeting.


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chip said...

Am I naive in thinking that beginning with the central act of God in Jesus (Death/Resurrection==redemption) and reading from this center "outward" should not only preserve the egalitarianism, but also preserve it as central to who we are as Christians? If what God did in Jesus is also the most complete revelation of who God is, and if the direct implications of redemption can be found in verses like Gal. 3:28 -- then acknowledging all human beings as God's children, as those for whom Jesus died and was resurrected, becomes a central affirmation of our own identity as God's children. It is to be like God.

Is there some gap in the logic here that I'm missing? I think this is where Scripture points us -- to this "center" of Scripture. What connects closely to this center is important; what doesn't, isn't.

Erros said...

If you believe that Jesus is the most complete revelation of God, then why center on ONE thing that Christ did and not the complete Christ.

Also, do you know that God had some "center" (single thing) in mind or is God big enough to move and center on EVERY act of Christ, the God become man? From Christ asking for water, to helping a people up from pain and accusation, to confronting arrogance with anger, to confounding rich kids?

The only flaw is thinking too narrow ;) Which is really a human thing and not really classifiable as a flaw, but more like a built in hardware limitation.

greg said...


I don't think you're naive in thinking that. I guess I'm concerned about how we bring folks along who aren't going to read it that way. They're going to apply a more literal reading to certain passages that will make a feminist reading, for example, very difficult. Perhaps we can't bring those folks along. Maybe that's the better question. I think most of us having this conversation are fine with different hermeneutical lenses, so perhaps I'm really asking if we need to bother with those folks who just don't care about a third way.

Shawn said...

I think we should care about those folks who can't see a third way for a few reasons. For one, whether they, we, or anyone else likes it they are representative of Christ to the world. Christians are commonly thought of as hypocrites for a reason, we usually are. Also, it seems logical to think that the more people you have doing Kingdom work in the Kingdom way, the more effective we are as the people of God. What I have a hard time with is the fact that this sort of change is very slow and often met with opposition for no good reason other than the preservation of certain comforts. I think it is important, but how it is done, is going to take much more experimentation and ideas than I have experience with.

Erros said...

A technique I have had some success with is to introduce a very little bit of different reading at a time. I don't necessarily say outright that I'm reading differently, but ask leading questions and encourage a freedom to ask questions about the "standard" answers. This works best in small groups, but I've observed it in action in larger groups. Another thing that I've had success with is when some one answers with cliche or "sunday school" answers I'll ask what they mean by that. It's fun to watch the reaction when the person realizes that they don't REALLY know what they mean. It's more fun to help lead to understanding though ;)