Saturday, December 15, 2012

How We Read the Bible - Part 8

While I have many more biases I could develop, my three main hermeneutical biases are:

1) Privilege Jesus over all else in Scripture.
2) Privilege a metanarrative of God's eventual plan to restore all of creation.
3) Privilege a hermeneutic that results in love.

Many attempts have been made to deconstruct the Old Hermeneutic (command, example, necessary inference) that dominated Churches of Christ throughout the 20th century. In my first couple of posts in this series, I shared why that way of reading Scripture didn't work for its original purpose: unity.

My goal from the beginning of this blog series has been to create an alternative proposal for how we might read Scripture faithfully in the years to come.

In this blog series, I've attempted to show you that we all "pick and choose" in our interpretation of Scripture. We all have experiences and personal biases that impact the way we read the Bible.

In my last 3 posts, I've tried to model what we can begin to do in our churches as we read Scripture within a faith community. I have made some of my biases public so that they can be scrutinized and critiqued by others. Because the worst thing we can do is allow our biases to operate subconsciously or secretly as we maintain the illusion that we interpret Scripture free from any bias at all.

And my hope is that more of us would be willing to allow our biased hermeneutic to be challenged and critiqued within the community of faith. But this can only happen as others are willing to submit their own biased hermeneutic. This project cannot succeed if everyone is unwilling to admit their assumptions as they approach Scripture. But it can be incredibly powerful if a group of church leaders were willing to vulnerably "show their cards" as they discern Scripture together.

Perhaps it would change our elderships like it did one of my small groups a couple of years ago. Over a series of 10 Wednesday nights, each group member shared our faith stories. We shared deep wounds and great triumphs. It took one brave member who "got real" on the first night and each person was willing to go even deeper as we processed our lives together.

And let me tell you this: It's much harder to pass judgment when you know someone's story. And it's impossible to pass judgment when you bear your own soul to that same group of people. All of a sudden, you understand how life circumstances can shape a person's theology to be a bit different from yours. And over time, you realize that God gifts a church with diverse people for wonderful reasons.

And that's the dynamic that has to occur in our elder/staff meetings.

What would happen if we stopped coming to meetings armed to do battle with Scripture and started coming together to discern God's future for the church vulnerably with our wounds, stories, and biases well known to everyone in the circle?

Would you be willing to share your biases in that setting? How would that experience change your church?

In the next post, I'll suggest a model for how we might make think through our biases more systematically.


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