A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Bible Meme

Chris Tessone posted these set of questions. I'm a sucker and of course want to have a go at these questions.

1. What translation of the Bible do you like best?

I still have the NRSV Bible my pastor gave me when I graduated from high school but in the last number of years I've been taken by the majesty of the New English Bible. It's the UK equivalent to the RSV, but it sounds like the language of scripture.

2. Old or New Testament?

I like bits of both. And get scared of bits of both.

3. Favorite Book of the Bible?

Big fan of the prophets but I'd have to say 1 Corinthians. Paul combines the religious genius of Rome, Greece, and Judaism and it's on display as Paul seeks to build and sustain community.

4. Favorite Chapter?

1 Corinthians 12 with the idea of the church as a body, though Paul's engagement with Roman thought in Acts 17 has drawn me recently.

5. Favorite Verse? (feel free to explain yourself if you have to)

1 Corinthians 13:12 "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known"- a passage for humility if there ever was one. Not a bad one to keep in mind.

6. Bible character you think you’re most like?

I hate to steal from Bob Cornwall, doubting Thomas sounds like a good candidate. To be honest I've never considered this question before. Bible characters always strike me as bigger than life and that's not a way I've ever considered myself.

7. One thing from the Bible that confuses you?

Job: is it dealing with the problem of evil? What's up with that ending? I admire Job's audacity to presume that there must be a moral order such that he can question it, demand answers when life is unjust to him. But much of the story is unsatisfying.

8. Moses or Paul?

Paul: his concern for community is a key for me today and the sources of his thought have more connection with the western tradition. Moses is hard to locate, a bit buried in time and myth.

9. A teaching from the Bible that you struggle with or don’t get?

Redemption, blood atonement whether in the Hebrew Scriptures or in the New Testament, the scapegoat concept: there is something that strikes me as false in this picture but it would take me a while to fill that out. A future post perhaps.

I believe God was in Christ reconciling the world, the need for such reconciliation is ever present as the recent discussion of race gives evidences of. But I've never been able to work with theories of blood sacrifice in making sense of that concept.

10. Coolest name in the Bible?

Genesis 14:18a "Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram..." I'd have to say that name is the coolest one that comes to mind.


At 1:23 AM , Anonymous andrew said...

I like this post a lot.

Some things I struggle with about the Christian life are these:

1. It seems the more we try to become Christ-like and remove sin from our lives, the more judgemental we become. We feel like we have a monopoly on the truth (also politicaly, both sides) and we insist on shoving it down other people's throats.

2. The concept of hell. All one has to do is believe in Jesus Christ as his/her personal savior and he/she is going to heaven. But what about others that love and serve God but don't believe in Jesus?

3. How come only 270 million people get to experience the greatness of America, but 2-3 billion live in countries that are oppressive and limiting in freedom?

4. The more religious or devout we become, do we push others away by striving for a standard that's impossible? At what point is imperfection acceptable? At what point do we accept the sins in others and our own lives?

5. How, if at all can a pedophile become born again and remove his/her desire to molest children and become a true believer and servant of Christ?

What are your opinions on these questions?


At 6:09 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

dwight: I've read a couple of books on Job that say its main point is to counter something equivalent to the "prosperity gospel" meme doing the rounds at the time. Y'know, the simplistic "going well <-> God blessing you, going bad <-> you sinned" duality. The story of Job is simply to introduce a greater (and more realistic) degree of complexity.

1. There's something going wrong if "*trying* to be Christ-like" (my emphasis) is leading people to be judgemental. Perhaps a good character-guide (in book form) is called-for, combining elements of the historical Jesus, quotes such as "judge not lest you also be judged", desirable fruits of the spirit, etc? I'm quite a believer in ortho*praxy*, or at least practicing what one preaches, so holding people to account would be fine.

2. You're asking the first two questions that blow apart the whole idea of Jesus as "personal saviour" and literal heaven and hell as "places". Any such idea would have to deal with OT pre-Jewish Israelites who "walked with God" - so what were The Rules then? - etc... Salvation itself is far wider: note that 2Cor.5:19 says "in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself" - the whole world, meaning fixing every instance of wrong/evil/injustice/oppression, not just some selfish "personal" idea of salvation - not even restricted to homo sapiens.

3. Oh the cynicism... I'm so glad *not* to be in the US with its particular brand of lack of freedoms and hypocrisy atm. It's just a pity we get the back-wash in the UK too.

4. "At what point do we accept the sins in others and our own lives?"
I'd say always and never, respectively. Note that accepting does not mean condoning but it does leave communication open.

5. By being human. Who are you to single-out one problem (this particular hatred being a feature of western culture and zeitgeist) and say that God can't work with them? Isn't that artificially limiting God? Isn't that devaluing a *person* whom God loves?

At 2:29 AM , Blogger Howling Latina said...

For some reason, I came up with the idea that the Book of Job is about the duality of the universe, which (and this is total heresy, I know) includes God.

It's almost as if God needs us as much as we need Him to balance the universe. And reinforce the will that goodness and faith triumphs over evil.


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