Monday, November 19, 2012

On taking the Bible too seriously to take it literally

Yesterday we welcomed 49 new members into All Saints Church and baptized four new members into the Body of Christ -- and I got to preach. It is always a deep privilege to step up into a pulpit to preach but some Sundays are a little more "laden" than others -- and yesterday was one of those for me.

It was "Bible Sunday" -- the next-to-the-last-Sunday in the church year when we start with the Collect of the Day that reads:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I knew from the get-go the sermon would be framed around that Collect -- and as I mulled the lessons and wrote the sermon in my head I gathered inspiration from the Rosanne Cash CD "Black Cadillac," from the work I did with Douglas Hunter on "The Constant Process," from posts on the All Saints Facebook page and comments on the Huffington Post. And I felt like I had all the bits-and-pieces and … yet they just sort of resisted coming together. Jelling. Turning themselves into a sermon instead of a bunch of bits and pieces.

And then – at what was a little more “11th hour” than I’m comfortable with, I came across this quote from Beth Zemsky (thanks to Macky Alston’s twitter feed – yes, the Lord works in mysterious ways!) and it kind of pulled it all together for me.
When we are in a movement moment, victories that seemed impossible become possible … these moments become possible when we have the courage to let go of what we thought we knew to step into a new place of agency, power and possibility. We need to insure that we build a movement in which everyone is in, no one is out, and we leave none of ourselves behind.
And out of all that came this: “Traditional Biblical Values” … a sermon for Bible Sunday 2012 @ASCpas:


LGMarshall said...

I listened to your whole sermon, and thought you explained TEC position very clearly. Your animosity & indignation toward others' beliefs came through strongly as well.

I agree with you that the Bible is the Living Word of God. [You may not realize, that is what we mean, when we say that the Bible is the 'literal' Word of God.] For example...if your neighbor said to you, "I'm going to Von's, can I get you anything?" You would probably believe that your neighbor, really is going to Von's & that he really would bring you something back if you asked for it. That is the same 'Literal' belief, that Believers have. No more, no less.

Couple of points...
--How do you manage the 'literal' problem, when you teach children about Jesus? [as children, are very 'Literal'. ]
--If an evangelist is still 'hungry',as he offers the Gospel to others who are hungry as well, then why would others partake? {doesn't Christ satisfy?)
--What's wrong with Molotov Bible Cocktails? After all, Jesus threw a few at Satan, and they had the desired effect. [or was he wrong to quote OT scripture?]
--It's misguided to tell people that you are 'building God's Kingdom' on earth, 'an inch at a time'. God's plan is different than that. He allowed for a way out of Sin, but he is allowing Satan to have his way first. After the Final Battle, Jesus will Create a New Earth for his Children, for Eternity. As you know, this world will disappear, it's wrong to give people false hope about this World. No place in the bible supports that false narrative. For those that Hope is in Jesus, their future Inheritance is in New Heaven & New Earth. [Rev.21.]


LG ... I'm letting this one through as an opportunity for others to imagine their own answers to your questions. For myself, I'm not going to engage in "point/counterpoint" ... and I believe you also "explain your position very clearly" as well.

And I'll proudly own the indignation with all that builds barriers between God's love and God's beloved.

Let those with ears to hear, listen.