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September 09, 2004

Comments

Karen H.

Hi Bill,
I would say that I agree with what you've written here. In light of the discussions you've had with folks at Raw Faith, do the discoveries you've made with this book inform your understanding of how others might read the scriptures differently?

Bill

No, I don't think my view on Scripture has changed because of this book in particular, but that's because I was already on board with a lot of what he wrote. A lot of what I have come to believe about the Bible had already been influenced by Barth, through the secondary sources of Erickson's Systematic Theology and "The Post-Evangelical" by Dave Tomlinson. Also, McLaren's previous books have been helpful in understanding the poetic/metaphorical nature of the Bible. There are probably other influences I'm not thinking of right now.

I am coming to understand the different emphases people place on scripture, yes, but what I don't like is people who seem to want to make the Bible say whatever they want it to say. There is still a context. There is still an idea that God wants to communicate.

It's funny you should ask that question. It reminds me of a conversation I just had the other day. I was talking about how I've encountered people who have pretty much similar views of Scripture and yet use those views to come up with differing interpretations (the actual word I used was "wacky"...possibly not the nicest way to say it, but alas, I'm not always nice).

In case you're wondering, I wasn't referring to you, by the way. What I was referring to is people who seem to take an irrational approach. It's the "my God wouldn't be like that" kind of mentality. I don't think we get decide what our God is like. I think we look to his sources of revelation to find that out. One of the more concrete sources is the Bible.

So if we take the example of human sexuality (since that's what a lot of the conversations you're referring to were about): How does God wants us to think about sex? What is it's importance? What should be our attitude about it? What kind of view does the Bible portray, overall, of heterosexuality?

An even broader question that has been discussed is this one: How do our actions define who we are?

I'm reminded of a funny set of "sticky notes" I used to have. Apparently, as I've just discovered, this is a quote by Kurt Vonnegut:

"To be is to do"—Socrates.
"To do is to be"—Jean-Paul Sartre.
"Do be do be do"—Frank Sinatra.

I don't know. I think I have to go with Sinatra on this one.

Karen H.

Hi Bill,
Well, it is a process. I'm glad you're reading Brueggemann. Keep pressing in.
Karen

Paula

I've been too busy to get to raw faith this week so I'm not sure where your other conversations have been going, but I wanted to share a thought. I've come to see the Bible as God's love letter to me. It used to just be a rule book that I was constantly trying to measure up to.

I'm learning that transformation is the work of the Holy Spirit. I can't change myself. I could change behaviors or patterns, but not the deep self. Only God can do that.

So, then I ask myself, why teach truths gleaned from the Bible? Are there truth? And I have to say, yes, I believe God's word is truth and truth is valuable. But if teaching/reading it makes me try to change myself and measure up I'm back to square one where I can't relate to a Holy God because I blow it all the time. I'm back to a place where the Bible becomes a rule book instead of a love story.

So, the other day God and I were talking about this stuff. I teach a Bible class of teenage girls and their moms and we've decided to explore God's perspective on beauty and godly womanhood. So--we figure the Bible is the best place to start. But I didn't want those precious ladies (or myself) to pull out the measuring stick again and feel like failures when we didn't live up to the truths we've found in God's story book. I mentioned this to the Lord and think I got some truth as I was praying.

The Bible tells us it is profitable for instruction in wisdom. It also tells us to renew our mind with its truth.

The Bible also tells us that we receive a new heart when we choose Christ and that the Holy Spirit is the One Who transforms us into being more like Jesus.

So--I believe there is benefit in searching out the truths God has given us in His story--to renew our mind with His way of thinking. Then, He'll use those truths to set us free and transform us as we rest in His grace.

Don't know if this relates at all to the discussions you've been having with others, but I'm curious what you think of my thoughts.

Blessings!

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