Posts in So Now What?
Formation: The Bible - How Jesus changes the way we read

When we see Jesus engage in scripture, he does so in creative and provocative ways. He is not stuck in a fundamentalist universe, but instead offers reimaging and reinterpretation. His common refrain in the sermon on the mount is “You have heard it said, but I say unto you…”.  He starts with an ancient Old Testament text and then in the tradition of wisdom, engages with it, interprets it, argues with it, and pushes it forward.

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Formation: The Bible - What to do with violent scriptures?

So what if we were to read these kinds of violent stories as a commentary of wisdom on the human psyche, the human condition. An insight into our ongoing struggle with ego, with competition, with fear of otherness and the way people have always integrated all of this into religious beliefs and our claims about what “God has said”. Our sense of belonging in a religious community can be shaped by the belief that we’re in and other people are out. God is on our side but not theirs. So God becomes implicated in our own violence. We use the name of God to give divine support to the causes and battles we align ourselves with.

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So Now What?Clint Gibson
Formation: The Bible - How myths can be true

In the Ancient Near Eastern world, modern historical method was not the way of talking about origin stories, of the big questions of life, meaning and history, of the experiences of a community. So if we bring those modern assumptions to the text, we end up falling into an either/or mentality. And often the way that ancient peoples told their stories, and especially their origin stories, was to use mythological elements to communicate theological ideas. We can call this “mythicised history” or “theological history”. In other words, the question is often not – “did this happen exactly this way?”, but rather, “what do we learn about the way they see God and reality?”

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Formation: The Bible - Wisdom Text or Instruction Manual

The kinds of things that the authors of scripture are wrestling with are in many respects the same we wrestle with now. They’re couched in different contexts and different language, but it’s often the same journey. Whether it’s how we deal with conflict, about what we believe lies at the heart of fundamental reality, about what we believe is central to the human experience, about how to negotiate our own demons, our jealousies, anger, rage, anxiety, worries, loves, relationships.

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