The Bible is not the last word. It is the first word.

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I found a wonderful blog entry titled The Bible and Me, by a blogger named "Liberal Pastor in Burnsville". The author explains why he is a progressive Christian. He begins with the simple point that he is a Christian because Christianity is what speaks to him personally:

I was raised in a Christian environment and immersed from childhood on in the stories of Jesus. As an adult I have come to appreciate and chosen to appropriate the way of Jesus as my way. Jesus as I understand him is the guiding force in my faith expression. Although, I have also come to learn, appreciate, and appropriate teachings from other religious traditions as well.

This helps identify me , I suppose, as a progressive or liberal Christian. I do not think there is only one "true" spiritual path.
The author then goes on to point out that the authors of the Bible come from a pre-Enlightenment era, in which peopled believed in demons and spirits and virgin births and the like; and that this ancient world view does not match his own:
I am at home in this modern or post-modern world that I have been raised in. I accept the scientific worldview as I understand it with regards to evolution, the scientific and historic methods of inquiry, the marvels of modern medicine, and the de-mythologizing of our world....My world is non-magical, but still plenty enchanted with mystery and wonder and beauty.
He then goes on to say that "the Bible is not the last word for me on truth or life or even God. It is the first word." I really like that statement. He continues,
It is where I begin because it helps me understand my spiritual heritage. It also chronicles for me some of the great leap-forwards in spiritual insights in the history of humanity - in the works of the prophets for instance - and it gives us the life-testimony and teachings of Jesus, one of the most authentic spiritual leaders in history. The Bible also offers profound insights into the human condition (something that hasn't changed much in thousands of years), and plenty of stories as examples of the very best and worst of it on display.

But knowledge about our world and the way we think about God continues to unfold. Revelation is progressive. As we evolve individually and as a human community, the horizon continues to unfold before us. For this reason we will never be able to know all there is to know, another pre-modern notion. The more we know the more we realize how little we know. There is no way in the world Moses or Jesus or Paul or the biblical writers could have spoken the (God's) last word from their point in history and their worldview on events unfolding thousands of years later. As the UCC likes to say: God is still speaking.
Religion is ongoing process. Traditions are not straitjackets, but starting points. They provide us with a record of where religions traditions have come from. But the religions must not just freeze in their tracks. They must move on.

3 comments:

Tor Hershman said...

The One God's creation @ YouTube

AMEN (hotep IV, that is)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7iQRFP_e90

ms. kitty said...

Actually, I'd say that the Earth is the first "word", not the Bible.

Mystical Seeker said...

Ms. Kitty, you have a point.