Some scholarship of late, of which Porter’s article is the most thorough example, has noted that Romans 1:18-32 does not represent Paul’s view, but the prevailing view of Gentiles among many Jews at the time, which this apostle to the Gentiles feels compelled to refute.
What if when we try to interpret the virgin birth or the resurrection as historically true (rather than symbolically True) we’re just completely misunderstanding the original intent of these stories? What if people in antiquity were way more sophisticated than we are, and they would think we were impossibly thick to be interpreting their beautiful stories this way?
…how is it that we are to determine moral decisions? If there is no objective moral authority we can point to in order to determine an ethical system, what are we left with?
And (a part of) the response:
It seems, based on the experiences of the first Christians in the book of Acts and the communities of faith begun by Paul, that we work out the truth of Christianity best in small, ecclesial communities. The Bible does not prescribe how a community of faith deals ethically with a loving, adult, monogamous lesbian couple, nor does it tell us whether clones can serve as elders in a congregation. We’ve got to work these things out in community.
(I think this is a great post but the title makes the geek in me giddy.)
Do we create a Bible that is totally understandable because it is actually totally understandable, or because we need it to be totally understandable? Is our real fear that in our limited thinking, anything other than a robust, tamper-proof, logical Bible will simply fall apart and mean nothing? Is the forcing together of contradiction a sign, not of clever hermeneutics, but simply of fear?
The lesson we can take from quantum mechanics is encouraging. While it contains contradictions, paradoxes and lack of resolution, it is not a collapsed house of cards, devoid of meaning. It is studied, it is progressing, and is even being harnessed.
Image source and article: http://www.redletterchristians.org/schrodingers-bible/
OMG, this post just gets better and better the further you read. Highly recommended!
“…love is itself the key to a functional morality—but it must be fierce love—love based on awe, wonder, vulnerable curiosity, and appreciation of the differences of others.
As a Christian, my understanding of morality is shaped by my understanding of holiness, which is to say, my understanding of flourishing human life that honors all creation by always growing more in capacity to love God and love neighbor. Moreover, I believe holiness/flourishing mean that we grow to understand every last enemy is really a neighbor that we simply haven’t had the curiosity to ask their name, and bear wit(h)ness to their life.”
*Note: Given the title of this post, I want to state again how I am using the word “Queer.” In some uses (like the end of the title of this post, I’m using the term Queer in place of LGBTIQ, as I think it’s a more inclusive single word than “gay” to refer to a range of people with very different experiences. I also use “Queer” as a verb (like in the first word of the title of this series), meaning to show a broader spectrum of perspectives on something, namely to open up space for a multiplicity of particular perspectives, particularly highlighting the experiences of those who are marginalized around sexual orientation. Neither of these uses are intended to co-opt the word Queer by those who identify themselves as queer or gender queer. If my use of this term seems problematic, I’d love to hear about it, as my own use of the term has shifted with time and I use the word queer for myself, along with gay, while also identifying as a cis-gendered male.
Clearly and beautifully written. LOVE this piece!
“As we read the Bible, we forget that the Bible is actually reading us. We are not finding the truth as much as the truth is finding us. We get so busy trying to discover the truth of a text that we forget to observe how the text is reading us. Are we bored? Are we angry? Are we sad? These are all ways in which the text reads us. As the text triggers our emotions, the text is teaching us. Or are we blocked so we cannot understand the text? This is also a means in which the texts is trying to tell us something.”
Image source and article: http://www.wideopenground.com/how-the-bible-reads-us/