Monday, August 06, 2007

An Approach to Scripture

My good friend Ellen from New York sent me this so perfectly captures where I am in relation to Scripture that I just had to post it. It is from How (not) to Speak of God by Peter Rollins:

"Most of us have been brought up to think that Jesus taught an ethical system for his disciples to follow. The term 'ethics' refers to an approach to moral situations in which we work out how we ought to act by deriving ideas from a foundation given by reason and/or revelation. By seeing Jesus as an ethical teacher we approach the Bible as this foundation and read it as one would read a text book -- attempting to read it in a neutral manner so as to work out how we should act......However, the religious idea of truth, as expressed above, places this modernistic approach into question. For, not only is there no such thing as a neutral interpretive space, but also the religious idea of truth demands that we should have a prejudice when reading the text: a prejudice of love. The Bible itself teaches us that we must not enter into any situation in a neutral and objective manner, even the reading of scripture, but always with eyes of love. Christ himself expressed this when he healed on the Sabbath, informing those who sought to condemn him that the law was made for humanity, not humanity for the law. .....This does not mean that we re-interpret our traditions in any way we want, but rather that we must be committed to living in the tension between exegesis (by which we extract meaning from the text) and eisegesis (by which we read meaning into the text). By acknowledging that all our readings are located in a cultural context and have certain prejudices, we understand that engaging with the Bible can never mean that we simply extract meaning from it, but also that we read meaning into it. In being faithful to the text we must move away from the naive attempt to read it from some neutral, heavenly height and we must attempt to read it as one who has been born of God and thus born of love: for that is the prejudice of God. Here the ideal of scripture reading as a type of scientific objectivity is replaced by an approach that creatively interprets with love.....

....acknowledging that we all get God wrong and that revelation can be interpreted in a variety of ways does not necessarily mean that we are caught in the tentacles of relativism, but rather can open up a dynamic, kinetic relationship with the text."