Go To SPOXTalk.comHome

     Total Page Views
We received
27594312
page views since Nov 2004

     Login
Nickname

Password

Security Code: Security Code
Type Security Code


     Shop Amazon


     Stories By Topic
Vermont News



A Judge Lynching
All My Aliens
Announcements
Art News
Health News
Holidays
Humor
Interviews
Opinion
Paranormal News
Political News
Sci-fi News
Science News
Spiritual News
The News
Travel News
Unusual News
Vermont News

     Exploration
· Home
· 007
· Ask_Shabby
· Content
· Dates
· Downloads
· FAQ
· Feedback
· Fine_Print
· Forums
· Fun_Stuff
· Game_World
· Home_Grown
· Journal
· Link_To
· Private Messages
· QNL
· Recommend Us
· Reviews
· Search
· Site_Credits
· SPOX_Talk
· Stone_Tarot
· Stores_Shop
· Stories Archive
· Submit News
· Surveys
· Tell_Us
· Top 10
· Top Stories
· Topics
· Weather_Station
· Web Links
· Your Account

     Who's Online
There are currently, 24 guest(s) and 0 member(s) that are online.

     Monthly Quote
“If a man has an apartment stacked to the ceiling with newspapers we call him crazy. If a woman has a trailer house full of cats we call her nuts. But when people pathologically hoard so much cash that they impoverish the entire nation, we put them on the cover of Fortune magazine and pretend that they are role models.”
-– B. Lester

     Link to us!
AlienLove Logos

Add Your Link To Us!

     Anti-War Webs
Anti-War Web Ring
[<<<] [ list ] [???] [ join ] [>>>]

 Opinion: Thoughts on coming to terms with the Bible

SpiritualityBy Howard Bess

I have always been a religious person, but not just religious. I was a Christian with a life commitment to Jesus. I have never considered any other life path. My life’s goal has been, in the words of the song, “to see Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, follow Thee more nearly, day by day.” The Bible has always been my primary tool in defining my relationship to my Lord Christ.

At Wheaton College, Bible was my major and Greek was my minor. My work at Wheaton was rigorous and helpful, but I had little introduction to serious critical study of the Bible until my seminary training at Garrett Theological Seminary, a Methodist seminary on the campus of Northwestern University. It was at Garrett that I found a whole new perspective in my understanding of the Bible.

I discovered a Bible with material collected and written over more than 1,000 years. Each piece of the collection was written by someone, written at a particular time, written for a particular audience, written for a particular purpose, and written in a variety of literary forms. The particular writings that were finally included in the book that we now call Holy found their way into the collection through bitter battles between dissenting factions, not through careful deliberations of praying giants of the Faith. ...




Shop Amazon with AlienLove
Help Support AlienLove - Shop Amazon




Ruling priests, bishops, emperors and kings held the final authority.

The 39 literary units that make up the Old Testament and the 27 literary units that were selected for the New Testament contain not one point of view, but sharply divided opinions. The four reports of the life of Jesus are in significant conflict. There is no way through careful study that the four can be reconciled. There are significant differences between the writings of Paul and the teachings of Jesus. Religious apologists have strived in vain to bring reconciliation, but the differing opinions are too apparent to ignore.

It is quite easy to justify war and wanton killing, slavery and a disgusting patriarchy by quoting passages found in the collected Bible writings. On the other hand, the Bible reader can find sublime passages advocating peace, love of neighbor, freedom for all, and equality and dignity for women. A vicious, vengeful God can be found, and a kind, loving Heavenly Father God is close at hand.

Added to the equations found in serious Bible study are all the problems of transmitting and translating of the texts over many centuries. Transmitting and translating always involves interpretation.

As a Baptist, I found a marvelous haven for argument at Garrett. Joyfully I discovered faculty members who were carrying on active arguments among themselves. I joined in the exercise. I argued with professors; I argued with fellow students; I argued within myself; I joined in an argument with the Bible. The arguments were not contentious. They were respectful and required listening as well as talking.

In the process, I lost none of my allegiance either to my Lord Jesus or to the collection of Bible writings that I now know carry conflicted messages. I was greatly helped by my Baptist heritage that gives every believer the right, the privilege and the responsibility to read and interpret the Bible. My Baptist tradition bows to no creed nor hierarchical pronouncement. My ordination as an American Baptist clergyman did not call for me to embrace anyone’s orthodoxy.

It has now been 52 years since I graduated from Garrett. My greatest debt to Garrett is for the freedom that I found to argue with and about the Bible and about the issues that newly appear every day in the living of life. I cherish my friends who have joined me in thoughtful and meaningful argument. My greatest frustration is those who, for whatever reason, decide not to join in life giving exchanges.

In the process of my life journey, I have come to a basic insight about the book of writings that is so dear to me. The Bible itself is an argument. It carries an abundance of differing opinions. The arguments are not always easy to understand because they took place in ancient settings that will never again be duplicated. The Bible as argument is difficult to accept. Understanding the arguments is a demanding discipline. The reader is challenged to be a careful listener to the conflicting points of view. Joining the argument as a full participant is unsettling. Every parable that Jesus told should be read rightly as an argument about some aspect of life that faced his listeners. Often they were arguments against cherished religious beliefs. Every saying that he spoke to his followers demanded life changing decisions.

Jesus never sidestepped the arguments about the particulars of the blessed life. Neither should we, even if it means arguing with the Bible itself.

************

The Rev. Howard Bess is a retired American Baptist minister, who lives in Palmer, Alaska. His email address is hdbss@mtaonline.net.

************

[17 April 2010]





Discuss this article in our forums.

Listen To SPOXTalk.



 
     Related Links
· More about Spirituality
· News by Blue1moon


Most read story about Spirituality:
Sex and the Liberal Christian


     Article Rating
Average Score: 0
Votes: 0

Please take a second and vote for this article:

Excellent
Very Good
Good
Regular
Bad


     Options

 Printer Friendly Printer Friendly


"Thoughts on coming to terms with the Bible" | Login/Create an Account | 0 comments
The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register




Site Copyright AlienLove 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
AlienLove is part of Scifillian Inc.
and SpoxTalk.com

PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
Page Generation: 0.05 Seconds