According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

Monday, December 24, 2012

Is the Bible like a Compost Pile or a Cookbook?

 
 
The Bible is a Smelly, Gross, Pile of Rotting Garbage
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/peterenns/2012/12/the-bible-is-a-smelly-gross-pile-of-rotting-garbage/
 
by Peter Enns
December 23, 2012
Comments

The Bible is like a compost pile.
 
I like this image and I wish I had thought of it. But this idea comes from Walter Brueggemann’s Texts Under Negotiation. I came across this many years ago, and it’s helped me see the Bible in a more realistic and spiritually constructive way.
 
The Bible is the compost pile that provides material for new life. I do not use this figure as an irreverent metaphor to suggest that the Bible is “garbage.” Rather, I use it to suggest that the Bible itself is not the actual place of new growth. Our present life, when we undertake new growth, is often inadequate, arid, or even barren. It needs to be enriched, and for that enrichment, we go back to the deposits of old growth that have been discarded, but that continue to ferment and may contain resources for a way to new life. (Texts Under Negotiation, pp. 61-62)
 
Like Brueggemann, I don’t take the compost pile as a disrespectful metaphor, but a metaphor that explains what the Bible is suited to do–and how people typically, instinctively, approach it anyway.
 
By contrast, an unhelpful metaphor is a cookbook:
 
Read the Bible carefully, being sure to follow the directions, and out will pop a good, orthodox Christian with his or her act together. If something went wrong–if you have wrong doctrine or do bad things–you’re not following the directions carefully enough. Go back and try it again.
 
I’ve found the Bible doesn’t work very well as a cookbook. Sooner or later you wind up sifting through the Bible to pick the ingredients that strike you and ignore other ingredients that don’t taste very well what you are trying to cook up. Plus the Bible is long, complicated, and a most of it looks like you’re reading a novel, not a cookbook.
 
The compost pile works better for me. It syncs with my study of Scripture, with my experience over the years as someone trying to figure out this following Jesus business, and with what I have learned from the wisdom of others, living or dead.
 
The compost pile analogy reminds me that focusing our gaze on the Bible is like looking expectantly at the compost pile rather than the fragrant rose or luscious watermelon that is waiting to grow up out of the ground. But nothing grows when our days are spent guarding the compost pile, defending it, covering it up with a tarp of manicured sod to make it look more civil.
 
Maybe this is a paradox: The Bible is not the end, but a means to an end. Yet, without the nutrients the Bible contains, the soil remains arid.
 
“Applying the Bible” doesn’t quite get at it. That comes across to me as a bit quiet and clean.
 
[But] gardening is full of grunting, sweat, dirt–and sometimes holding your nose. Read the Bible with a pitch fork, garden rake, and shovel in your hands–not with rubber gloves and tongs delicately turning over crackling pages of an ancient book.
 
 
 
 
 

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