Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
Discussion: The Blue Parakeet by Scott McKnight
From Chapter 6, “From Paper to Person: How Do We Read God’s Words?
In this chapter McKnight strengthens his view that the Bible should be read as a story by noting that the when we read the Bible from an authoritative approach the relational aspect is neglected.
The relational approach distinguishes God from the Bible. God existed before the Bible existed; God exists independently of the Bible now. God is a person; the Bible is paper. God gave us this papered Bible to lead us to love his person. But the person and the paper are not the same.
The distinction between a person’s words and the person is an important one, but I am not sure we Christians have always made that distinction.
I am not going to go into all of the detail that he talks about in terms of a relational approach to reading the Bible, but I would like to end McKnight’s thoughts with this:
So, too, if we frame our relationship to the Bible in terms of authority, we will inevitably have authoritarian issues emerging as theology. Here is a conclusion that has taken me nearly thirty years to come to: without denying the legitimacy of the various terms in the authority approach, those who have a proper relationship to the Bible never need to speak of the Bible as their authority nor do they speak of their submission to the Bible. The are so in tune with God, so in love with him, that the word “authority” is swallowed up in loving God. Even more, the word “submission” is engulfed in the disposition of listening to God speak through the Bible and in the practice of doing what God calls us to do.
As I read this paragraph above I am drawn to think of Jane and how “pastors” such as Eric Davis have responded to the heartbreaking story of her rape experience and a Christian school’s response to her. While reading Davis’ responses, I gather that he reads the Bible with authority. He writes a lot about authority, such as the authority of pastors and elders over a church. Is anyone surprised to hear how Jane was treated by those in authority over her?
Sadly, these men and women who claimed authority over Jane neglected to see her in a relational manner. They focused on sin, rules and regulations, and tried to make it all go away. They neglected to see Jane as a wounded person. They neglected to see Jane’s strength as she gathered the courage to go to the police. They neglected to acknowledge the trauma that Jane had faced.
I believe that Jesus wept over Jane’s treatment by those who claimed spiritual authority over her. Anyone who claims to read the Bible should weep as well.
Hear, O Lord, my righteous plea; listen to my cry. Give ear to my prayer – it does not rise from deceitful lips. May my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right.
Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin. As for the deeds of men – by the word of your lips I have kept myself from the ways of the violent. My steps have held to your paths; my feet have not slipped.
I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes. Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me.
They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover.
Rise up, O Lord, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword. O Lord, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life.
You sill the hunger of those you cherish; their sons have plenty, and they store up wealth for their children. And I – in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
Proverbs 12: 2 – 3
A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but the Lord condemns a crafty man. A man cannot be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?
Photo credit: Kathi – Purple ribbons symbolize Domestic Violence Awareness month