A Brief Introduction

Endeavoring to define myself outside of a "job title." I'm a nomad of sorts who fell in love with technology, activism, and helping others. I run a web & media consulting firm, have a blog specifically for activists & non-profits, and travel often. I love talking about theology, politics, and social change. I love doing something about it even more. I also like to be a well-rounded and fully present person. That's why I write here. Connect with me on twitter

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning, and now Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism by John Shelby Spong. Books that have touched my own heart--and the heart of God--in awesome and inspiring ways. I remember the spiritual renewing, the awesome and empowering life-truth, the saving and amazing grace, and the history changing difference that I gleaned from Mere Christianity and The Ragamuffin Gospel. When I set out to complete my Equality Ride readings, I was certainly not expecting a Christian awakening. How wrong was I?

There were moments as I read that the Evangelical inside of me sprung up and I was tempted to write it off as hippie-new-age-mushy-spirituality-not-really-Christian. But that notion was quickly dispelled. On multiple occasions (I can distinctly remember three), the words sent goosebumps over my body. I had previously thought about how there is a temptation to revere the Bible instead of revering God. That somehow it is the Bible that is the source of life, the source of goodness, the source of power.

It isn't.

The Bible is merely a messenger--one of many ways God reveals himself to us. Even the Bible talks of how God reveals Himself to all, even outside of Scripture. Scripture is beautiful. But Scripture is not God. It is the feeble, time-sensitive, culturally-tainted words of men (and women), striving to know God better and to pass on their magnificent, life-altering experience with him to others. God bless them! The Bible is a rich resource and we, Christians, would be lost without it. It's contribution cannot be overestimated. But it is but a mere reflection of the One it honors.

Spong proposes that while Fundamentalism offers a literalism that is both irrational, unacceptable, and eventually spiritually fatal, the alternative that many liberal/mainline churches present is no more appealing. Devoid of saying anything definite, lacking Biblical knowledge and authority, missing a real and urgent quest for God. Fundamentalism does not have a monopoly on the Bible. I was refreshed to hear an educated, progressive theologian talk about the importance of the Bible and the timelessness of its message. We have another option! Searching after God is not easy--but He never said it would be. When you wade past the limited knowledge of the day, the preconceptions, the assumptions, the culture, the language, and the experiences what you find is truly remarkable.
You find God.

I thank God that I might search after Him. And I pray that He might guide my journey as I do.


Anonymous said...

hey brian, this is Catherine Jen's friend. I agree with this. I was actually just having a conversation about this the other day... I think there is often too much emphasis and power given to the bible. Not that it isn't important and powerful and true, but God can be found in that tree over there too.
Anyway, I've been meaning to find you somewhere, and jen sent me this so I decided I would write my thoughts.
that's it.

Brian said...

Thanks for finding me Catherine! It's good to see that I'm not alone in this endeavour. The Bible is such a wonderful resource but we must be sure to use it carefully and to work diligently to understand it fully.

When people start making assumptions and using the "Word of God" to backup their prejudices, the result is downright dangerous.

I hope you continue to check back in!


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