Richard Rohr – Jesus’ Hermeneutic

Jesus’ approach to interpreting sacred text was radical for his time, yet honored his own Hebrew Bible (or what Christians call the Old Testament). Even though Jesus’ use of Scripture is plain enough for us to see in the Gospels, many Christians are accustomed to reading the Bible in a very different way. We simply haven’t paid attention and connected the dots! Over the next couple days, I’ll share some examples that reveal Jesus’ hermeneutic so that we might follow his methodology:

  • Jesus actually does not quote Scripture that much! In fact, he is criticized for not doing this: “you teach with [inner] authority and not like our own scribes” (Mark 1:22).
     
  • Jesus talks much more out of his own experience of God and humanity instead of teaching like the scribes and Pharisees, who operated out of their own form of case law by quoting previous sources.
     
  • Jesus often uses what appear to be non-Jewish or non-canonical sources, or at least sources scholars cannot verify. For example, “It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick do” (see Mark 2:17, Matthew 9:12, and Luke 5:31), or the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:19-31). His bandwidth of authority and attention is much wider than sola Scriptura. He even quotes some sources seemingly incorrectly (for example, John 10:34)!
     
  • Jesus never once quotes from nineteen of the books in his own Scriptures. In fact, he appears to use a very few favorites: Exodus, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Hosea, and Psalms—and those are overwhelmingly in Matthew’s Gospel, which was directed to a Jewish audience.
     
  • Jesus appears to ignore most of his own Bible, yet it clearly formed his whole consciousness. That is the paradox. If we look at what he ignores, it includes any passages—of which there are many—that appear to legitimate violence, imperialism, exclusion, purity, and dietary laws. Jesus is a biblically formed non-Bible quoter who gets the deeper stream, the spirit, the trajectory of his Jewish history and never settles for mere surface readings.
     
  • When Jesus does once quote Leviticus, he quotes the one positive mandate among long lists of negative ones: “You must love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18).

(Source, HERE)

Richard Rohr – Jesus and the Bible. Many Ways of Knowing

Unknown to many post-Reformation Christians, early centuries of Christianity—through authoritative teachers like Origen, Cyril of Alexandria, Augustine, and Gregory the Great—encouraged as many as seven “senses” of Scripture. The literal, historical, allegorical, moral, symbolic, eschatological (the trajectory of history and growth), and “primordial” or archetypal (commonly agreed-upon symbolism) levels of a text were often given serious weight among scholars. These levels were gradually picked up by the ordinary Christian through Sunday preaching (as is still true today) and presumed to be normative by those who heard them.

These different senses of Scripture were sometimes compared to our human senses of hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and touching, which are five distinct ways of knowing the same thing, but in very different “languages.” After both the Reformation and the Enlightenment, Western Europeans reduced our ways of knowing to one for all practical purposes—the supposedly rational/literal/historical. We have largely compacted and limited the Bible to this single sense for several centuries now, in both its Catholic and Protestant forms. Our bandwidth of spiritual access to the Bible was consequently severely narrowed, it seems to me—and as many would say—to the least spiritually helpful level. That something supposedly literally happened in one exact way, in one moment of time, does not, of itself, transfer the experience to now, me, or us. I believe that such transference is the transformative function of any spiritual text.

The narrow, rational/literal/historical approach largely creates an antiquarian society that prefers to look backward instead of forward. In my experience, it creates transactional religion much more than transformational spirituality. It idealizes individual conformity and group belonging over love, service, or actual change of heart.

Literalism was discredited from the beginning of the New Testament through the inclusion of four Gospel accounts of the same Jesus event, which differ in many ways. Which is the “inerrant” one?

The earlier centuries of Christianity were much closer to the trans-rational world of Jesus and his storytelling style of teaching (which does not lend itself to dogmatic or systematic theology). The Gospel says, “He would never speak to them except in parables” (Matthew 13:34). The indirect, metaphorical, symbolic language of a story or parable seems to be Jesus’ preferred way of teaching spiritual realities.

Almost all of Jesus’ parables begin with the same phrase: “The Reign of God is like. . . .” Jesus fully knows he is speaking in metaphor, simile, story, and symbol. But in recent centuries, many Christians have not granted him that freedom, and thus we miss or avoid many of his major messages. We are much the poorer for it.

(Source, HERE)

Omul evanghelic. O explorare a comunitatilor protestante romanesti

Dragi prieteni,

Vă anunț, cu un sentiment de mare ușurare, că astăzi, înainte de prânz, „după lupte seculare”, care au durat mai mult de… zece ani, am predat la Polirom textele definitive și am semnat contractul final pentru volumul Omul evanghelic. O explorare a comunităților protestante românești. Este vorba de un volum masiv, de circa 650 de pagini, format mare, ce include texte elaborate de 19 autori, din interiorul și din afara mediului evanghelic.

Volumul va apărea în librării cel mai târziu până la începutul lunii septembrie, iar până la finalul aceleiași luni va fi disponibilă și versiunea ebook.

În viitorul apropiat voi voi începe să comunic, din când în când, mai multe informații despre acest proiect editorial.

Până atunci, pentru cei interesați, iată mai jos cuprinsul volumului.

Omul evanghelic – Cuprins

 

Peter Enns – The Hardest Thing for Me about What I Do

The confession below is about sincerity and integrity. I share it here because I feel exactly the same way. For a ‘social animal’ like me, loosing friends is never easy. Yet, I am not ready to sacrifice my conscience even in order to keep a friendship. I may be wrong on what I believe – I have been proven wrong before. 😦 That is why, some day I am going to write something titled ‘How I Changed My Mind’).

Yet, until I have enough evidence to change my mind, I have to be true to what I believe. And, of course, I will express those convictions in imperfect ways, in line with my temperament, my level of (im)maturity and my ethnic makeup. I hope my friends can live with that. But if they cannot, I can’t do anything about it.

As Scripture says, let us walk together in the things we think alike, and may the Holy Spirit enlighten us in the rest. I can live with that. Can you?
And now, here is what Pete Enns has to say about it.

** * *

OK, this is going to be a little personal, but you don’t have to read it.

In case you haven’t noticed, I write about the Bible and Christian faith now and then. And if you’ve noticed that, you’ve probably also noticed that some of what I write about could be considered a bit edgy—for some, at least.

And that’s OK. When you write about God, Jesus, and the Bible, you’re going to be controversial for somebody. And, if several thousand years of recorded history are any indication, some people are probably going to be very, very, very angry with you for uttering thoughts about ultimate reality that they don’t like. They might even hate you (in Jesus’ name and for the glory of God).

But that doesn’t bother me terribly. Sure, I don’t love it, but it’s part of the job. Plus, my keyboard has delete button.

Over-the-top negativity isn’t the hard part. What’s hard is losing friends, a community, a sense of belonging, a shared narrative.

It’s not so much about friends becoming enemies, but the more subtle disorientation of not really fitting anywhere.

The insider becomes the outsider. Nothing unravels a social fabric quicker. I get it. No one likes their social fabric unraveled. It keeps us warm and safe. No offense taken.
I keep writing because I believe in being true to myself, and genuine faith cannot exist for me if I hold back and refuse to “take door number 3.” I’m not particularly brave. I don’t wake up in the morning mustering courage so I can go into battle to slay dragons. I just don’t know what else to do with myself.

I don’t know how not to turn things around in my head and look for a different angle that produces some new insights, even if that means leaving behind familiar things. I just can’t imagine not trying to work all this out—for my own benefit, and, if all goes well, for others, too.

I’m not whining. I’m not a martyr. It is what it is. I’m just saying the loss of community, of a shared narrative, is the hardest part for me. Not fitting. Not knowing where you fit, or if such a place even exists. And maybe this is how it will always be.

And I know a lot of others feel the same way.

(Source, HERE)

Fr John Behr – Reading Scripture

women-bible

There are indeed many ways in which Scripture is read, and there is also great deal of debate about this, both on a general level and also within scholarly circles. But there is a certain feature of the reading of Scripture which is absolutely fundamental to the Christian tradition, from the initial proclamation of the gospel to the creeds propounded by the Councils. This is so important that Paul repeats it twice within a single sentence: ‘I delivered to you, as of first importance, what I also received, that Christ died in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried and rose on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures’ (1 Cor. 15:3–4). The Scriptures here are what we (somewhat misleadingly) call the ‘Old Testament’; and it is by reference to these same Scriptures that the Creed of Nicaea also states that Christ died and rose ‘in accordance with the Scriptures’. It is these Scriptures that provided the framework, the terms, the imagery, and the language by which the Apostles and Evangelists understood and proclaimed the revelation of God in Christ. They were and still are (even now we have the writings of the New Testament) the primary Scriptures of the Christian tradition (they are, after all, appealed to as the Scripture by the NT texts themselves), the primary texts by which we are led into the revelation of God in Christ. Continue reading “Fr John Behr – Reading Scripture”

Women should not teach men what? 1 Timothy 2 in context – Reenacting the Way

Source: Women should not teach men what? 1 Timothy 2 in context – Reenacting the Way

Here is some solid biblical teaching on a topic that continues to divide evangelicalism, mostly because of ignorance, patriarchy and ‘holy’ misogyny.

Rob Bell – What Is the Bible?

I have just finished reading Rob Bell’s latest book, titled What Is the Bible?: How an Ancient Library of Poems, Letters, and Stories Can Transform the Way You Think and Feel About Everything. I really loved it and I think every evangelical should read it. The book does not say anything new, nor does the author claim to do so. It merely presents at a popular level what theologians and Bible scholars have said about it in the last hundred years.

You may ask, what is then so important about it? Here is my answer. Continue reading “Rob Bell – What Is the Bible?”