- time away
- the sound of waves and promise of love that never ends
- sunsets that glimmer
- sunrises (from the comfort of the couch!)
- K2 & JP
- home made salsa
- books and journals and colored pencils and doodles
- hours in the pool – hours!
- my brother
- truth that is stronger than
- sun-touched skin (even with 30 spf!)
- really good coffee
- space to be
What an interesting mingling of news items today: The 111th Congress began with the reading of The U.S. Constitution and the decision of a publisher to offer a new edition of Huckleberry Finn with the elimination of two particular words. As I listened to the news this morning I was struck by the similarities these discussions have with the conversation that happens around the interpretation of scripture.
It is easy to toss around accusations of who holds the truth when it comes to interpreting written words in whatever context we find them. As much as we’d like to say “The Bible says…” or “The Constitution says…” or even “Mark Twain meant” words must be interpreted and it depends on our perspective. Where are you standing and what do you see when you see this picture?
I know there are many who hold that the words speak for themselves but I honestly, and I hope, humbly, don’t know how that can be. I’m not a constitutional scholar (duh!) but there is a reason we have judges and courts to help us apply the words of the Constitution. I’m not an English major either, but the arguments around changing the language in Huck Finn have to do with the act of interpretation, right?
And whenever we read the Bible, we interpret. I’m reminded of the work of Shirley Guthrie, a wonderful theologian and dear mentor who died a few years. One of the many gifts he left was an explication of the rules of interpretation from his work Christian Doctrine. He would joke that he only intended this work to be an adult education curriculum. I don’t think it will help us with the Constitution or even Huck Finn, but for those of you who claim faith in Jesus Christ I offer these to you as a gift from Shirley. Oh, and go order his book, too.
- Scripture is to be interpreted in light of its own purpose. “We read the Bible rightly when we read it to learn who God is and how we may live faithfully in the presence of God.” Guthrie
- Scripture interprets itself. “This rule also means that we must listen to the total witness of scripture, not just to selected passages that support what we already think or want to hear.” Guthrie
- The Christological principle. “When we encounter apparent tensions and conflicts in what Scripture teaches us to believe and do, the final appeal must be to the authority of Christ.” Declaration of Faith
- The rule of faith. “We interpret scripture rightly when we do not try to interpret it by ourselves, as if we were the first ever to ask what it means.” Guthrie
- The rule of love. “All right interpretations reflect the love of God and the love of God’s people for all kinds of people everywhere, everyone included and no one excluded.” Guthrie
- The study of scripture in its historical and literary context. It is important to interpret scripture “from the nature and language in which they were written, likewise according to the circumstances in which they were set down.” Second Helvetic Confession, ch. 2
There is much more to be said and discussed but this is a beginning. I highly recommend reading Adam Copeland’s post over at A Wee Blether.
This is not how I planned it. My plan for Lent was to have some open space in my calendar each week. Maybe that sounds like a weak practice but believe me, it isn’t all that easy!
Taking on this practice allowed me to incorporate some of the goals I set for myself at the CREDO event I attended last fall and set apart the time I need to begin my training for an upcoming half-marathon that would then lead into a full-marathon.
All was going so smoothly until I got up from the table after enjoying a fine meal with friends about 10 days ago: that familiar feeling of a locked knee. It has happened before whenever I pick up my training but this time is different. Icing, resting, stretching and it still hurts. Dang.
But suddenly, I’m mindful. Mindful of my knee, mindful of what I can and cannot do. Mindful of how many times I go up and down the stairs in my house. Mindful that my body needs care. Mindful that my plans are not always what happens. Mindful that I love to run. Mindful that I love to golf. Mindful that sometimes I don’t get to do what I want to do. Mindful that I still need to care for myself even if I can’t run or hit the driving range. Mindful that I still need margins in my schedule just for me.
Mindfulness. A group of us have been exploring that while reading Mudhouse Sabbath but now I’m experiencing it in a way I hadn’t expected. It isn’t a bad practice at all but what a way to learn its importance all over again.
One of my dearest friends posted something worth reading.
Click here and read.
You can thank me later. No ice cream necessary.
The sound of K2 dropping books from the bed as she reads by moonlight…or flashlight…or the light of the clock next to her.
I know someone else who used to do that, too. Now she is lucky if she finishes a page before her head hits the pillow.
I’m on a bit of a reading binge this summer. K2 is doing the summer reading program through our county library and I’ve decided to re-live my childhood and do the same. I keep a list of what I read on this blog that I’m sure every single one of my five readers have perused. In case you haven’t, here are three I recently finished that I think everyone of you should read.
Velvet Elvis Rob Bell of Mars Hill wrote this book a couple of years ago. Bell has a fondness for all black wardrobes and goofy glasses but has written a compelling book about being a Christian today. You should read this because it will push you to think about what you really believe and possibly even reconsider all the stuff you learned in Sunday school over the years. And if you never went to Sunday school it will help you put some words to your faith. And if you don’t have faith, you might find yourself reconsidering.
Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation by Carol Howard Merritt , should be read by every pastor, elder, deacon, church leader. period. I often find Alban books to be a bit thin when it comes to theological reflection but this is not one of them. The intent of the book is to challenge churches to think about how they minister to “young adults” but I think it is a challenge of how to minister. period. Read it. Now.
Finally, Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television is hilarious. And thoughtful. And entertaining. Nadia Bolz-Weber is the mission developer for House for All Sinners and Saints. Here was her challenge: to watch 24 hours of TBN – the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Maybe it is something only pastors do, but there are times Jeff and I will find ourselves actually watching one of the shows on the network and being, well, a bit snarky. Okay, more than a bit. Bolz-Weber is snarky, too, but she is also thoughtful and does the hard work of taking her criticisms and turning them back on her own theology and practices. That is a good practice for all of us. Even if it does hurt. Ouch.