Monday, November 12, 2007

bible studies

The pastor of the congregation my family attends now is a very humble guy. He's admitted that there's stuff I've studied that he's never even thought about, and he's willing to admit that he could be wrong about even stuff that he does know well, so he's always willing to listen to ideas that will challenge his preconceptions. That's rare for anyone, but especially for a leader in the area of his authority. I think his basic decency and friendship more than anything have been what's kept me tethered to The Point at the church at large, at all.

I've done the adversarial Bible studies. I'm afraid I can't help it, really; a college professor once pointed out to me that my role in class was to be his personal ha-Satan, by questioning everything he taught us. (He meant it in a good way.) They generally go over poorly too, even on basic stuff, like suggesting that St. John the Evangelist, St. John the Elder and St. John of Patmos might not have been the same person, but all belonged to the same "school of John." Church and Bible study leaders dislike it when I suggest that we have tithing wrong, that the doctrine of sanctification is a misunderstanding of grace, and so on.

I hate to think how they would react if I disavowed the whole pre-creation rebellion of Lucifer, or suggested that the Hebrew understanding of God evolved over time from Sinai to Christ, going from a tribal deity whose favor can be earned by behavior and whose approval can be measured by your relative prosperity, to a transcendent one who rules all the nations and whose ways beggar our understanding.

No comments: