blue bits. red rocks.


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It occurred to me that we do indeed think of the Bible as something that has been “given” to us by God, when we should think of the Bible as a collection of texts to which we’ve given numerous interpretations throughout history. We think of the Bible as something that has given us a specific narrative about the world, without acknowledging that we are, in fact, the ones who assign and propagate biblical narratives. When it comes to the biblical narratives we choose (whether this involves our chosen theory of atonement, our perspectives on sin and human worth, our thoughts about women in ministry, our beliefs about gays, our beliefs about other religions, or even our perspectives on war), we like to believe that we have passively received something to which we are enslaved and for which we have no responsibility– when the truth is that we are conscious and responsible actors with the power to change these narrative(s) at any time. Again, we assign these narratives to the texts. Unchanging steel vs. malleable clay: Thoughts on how we interpret the Bible

I would venture to say that approaching the Christian Story from this direction, it has long been my feeling (a joyous feeling) that God redeemed the corrupt making-creatures, men, in a way fitting to this aspect, as to others, of their strange nature. The Gospels contain a fairystory, or a story of a larger kind which embraces all the essence of fairy-stories. They contain many marvels—peculiarly artistic, beautiful, and moving: “mythical” in their perfect, self-contained significance; and among the marvels is the greatest and most complete conceivable eucatastrophe. But this story has entered History and the primary world; the desire and aspiration of sub-creation has been raised to the fulfillment of Creation. The Birth of Christ is the eucatastrophe of Man’s history. The Resurrection is the eucatastrophe of the story of the Incarnation. This story begins and ends in joy. It has pre-eminently the “inner consistency of reality.” There is no tale ever told that men would rather find was true, and none which so many sceptical men have accepted as true on its own merits. For the Art of it has the supremely convincing tone of Primary Art, that is, of Creation. To reject it leads either to sadness or to wrath. J.R.R. Tolkien

Bible translators, quite rightly get excited about the Bible. However, we need to constantly remember that Jesus did not write a book, he called a community. The purpose of the Bible is to equip and shape that community to be the people that God wants them to be. The community is the purpose, not the Bible. Jesus Did Not Write a Book

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Jesus was killed. Then his followers insisted that they’d had encounters with him. They reflected on things he said before we died on the cross. They thought about their own history and the central role of the temple in their communal life. They saw in his innocence a picture of the sacrificial lambs they’d all been offering since childhood. They saw in his willingness to die rather than resort to violence a new way to be in the world. They viewed his death as the end of that entire system of bloodshed. We’re still finding meaning and significance in his life and death and resurrection. That’s why the Bible is referred to as a living and active word. rob bell: What is the Bible? Part 72

Paul’s letters have long formed the core of Christian theology, but Paul’s handling of his Bible makes him look like the crazy uncle you make excuses for or avoid entirely. Pete Enns

the Bible is a story about a God who journeys with His people through hard times even when it is God who has unleashed the judgment. He doesn’t pluck them out of danger. Whether that danger is slavery in Egypt, wandering in the wilderness, exile in Babylon, the travails of Job, oppression under the Romans, or the persecution of the early church, God walks with God’s people through the valley of the shadow of death. He doesn’t snatch them out of it. If that is true, then our love for the rapture reveals a lack of love for the very world Jesus came to save. The very idea of the church abandoning the world in its time of need is endemic of an American Christianity that is more focused on the self than the needs of the other, more gnostic (concerned with right ideas) than actually Christian, and hyper-focused on the hereafter to the detriment of the here and now. Yes, the Second Coming is important – but so is everything that happens before. Nobody Is Getting Left Behind (Because The Rapture Is Never, Ever Going To Happen)

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The Bible is like Van Gogh’s painting of sunflowers, rather than a Wikipedia entry about sunflowers. It is not a science book. It will not tell you what to believe in order to make God happy. It is more likely to show you what faith does than define what it is (Abraham Heschel said something like this). The Bible is a work of art, a collection of stories, histories, poems, flawed characters and beautiful songs. Art is meant to work on us and to wake us up to our own lives. The Bible works on our hidden depths, hopes, and dreams, pushes our buttons and exposes our illusions. What does it mean to be human? What is God like? Why is there good or evil? Am I good enough? Is anything eternal? Is the universe sacred? The Bible asks the perennial human questions and does not always provide straightforward answers. The Bible wants us to wrestle God, which is the very meaning of “Israel.” To be human is to creatively wrestle meaning out of the chaos of our lives. The men and women who wrote the Bible, who danced with the songs and poems, were being fully human, giving artistic meaning to their human experience. The Bible’s magnificence is that it includes so much diverse experience. he bigger story of a God of love is not so evident on every page. Like life itself, the people of faith in the Bible did a lot of stumbling around, three steps forward and two steps backward, before slowly and quietly waking up to the mystery of a universal, rather than tribal God, whose essence is freedom, grace, love and mercy. Kent Dobson

One of the dangerous delusions suffered by biblical literalists is the fantasy that their reading of scripture is one shared by the historic Church. Why Left Behind- Reading, Rapture-Believing Christians are Really Liberals

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When I visit a new church I can walk into the sanctuary (or auditorium) and know which tribe the church belongs to by the pew Bible: the translation tells the story because Bible translations have become ecclesial politics. The Politics of Bible Translations

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