Sunday, January 13, 2008

"For the Bible Tells Me So": The Movie and the Experience

There is another new documentary at nearby movie theaters, "For the Bible Tells Me So," which reveals the situation that many of us who are Christian and gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people: the way we read Scripture! The tension (in simplistic, reductionistic terms) is between at least two "camps": those who read the Bible out of the the "inerrancy" tradition, versus those of us who read the Bible with not only the hermeneutical understanding of reading Scripture through the prism of historical cultural criticism, but remembering (and standing firmly upon this rock) that Jesus is the Word of God, in which the Scriptures are witness to the living Word, Jesus the Christ.

My experience of this tension came to life this morning when I met with a Ministers-In-Training class at the Upper Room Church of God in Christ congregation in Raleigh, NC. After reading from the book, I opened up the time for questions and responses, and the first questioner came forth reading from Genesis 4, in which Adam and Eve gave birth to a son. From that question onward, we had a discussion on the issue of how we read Scripture. Church of God in Christ: inerrancy; Presbyterian Church (USA): historical cultural criticism. And from that time onward, we did not agree with or on much of anything, except that Jesus is Lord, and that Jesus is the Son of God.

The issue is this: how people interpret the Scriptures matters. The issue of the authority of Scripture in a person's and community's life is a debatable point, in which there is neither right nor wrong, only we read it differently. But that different reading also shapes how we live our lives as Christians. And we read Scripture, and are taught the story of Scripture in the context of a community, and read Scripture through and with the aid of community, e.g., relationships, in which the Spirit of God thrives and is made known.

So, to my brothers and sisters who read this blog, Jesus is the living Word of God (John 1). The Bible is not the Word of God. We live in the living Word of God, God's love letter to the world, in human form, e.g., John 3:16a: "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son" (New Revised Standard Version).

Or as the song goes: "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are weak but he is strong! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus love s me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so."

Let's discuss!

Peace, Brett


Joey said...

So whether or not you are reading te bible with hermeneutics, being a Christian is about repentance fromsins. You emphasized the point that Jesus loves you because the bible told you so. Your right Jesus does love you, and for that you continue in homosexuality!? I'd like to think I understand the battle of homosexuality because I have wrestled with it before. Now the bible tells you a lot of other things besides how much Jesus loves you.
"But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat". 1 Corinthians 5:12

I assume that you realize the sinfulness of your behavior. If you are a minister, it saddens me to see how you besmirch the Holy name of God. It also grieves me to know that you may be leading a congregation. Sir I don't want to start a war with you, I want to love you and to see you in heaven.

Bear Me Out said...

Luther said, the bible is the cradle that holds the baby.


I am saddened greatly by the above comment. greatly.

Just coming out, I am having trouble living with such "loving" statements as what Joey said.

I can't imagine going into "the den of Daniels". Thank you for your courage and witness.

Johnny G said...

Joey seems to bring the issue to a head. If homosexual behavior is a sin, then it should be "wrestled" with. However, if homosexual behavior is not inherently wrong, and is merely culturally distasteful (less and less so, thankfully), then there is no issue.

It seems to me that those who, like Joey, believe that homosexual activity is definitely a sin have completely closed their mind to the fact that they could be wrong in their judgement of what is and is not sin. Those of us who leave the judging up to God and instead focus on other non-sexual areas of our lives that need attention (pride, selfishness, etc.) find people like Joey to be utterly misguided at best.

Joey said...

I don't think you should admit defeat to any sin no matter what it is.