No Outcasts: A New Kind of Bible Study on Sunday Mornings, September 2007-Easter 2008
How do we decide in the midst of today’s culture wars what is the correct interpretation of Scripture? On one hand, Jesus is presented as a violent judge who’s going to return with wrath to save the chosen few, and, as popularized in Left Behind series, will abandon the rest of us to destroy each other. On the other hand, many liberals present him as a teacher par excellence of non-violent and egalitarian principles who has all the best intentions, but lacks any tangible power to make a difference in our lives. In the end neither approach is satisfying. Instead we are left feeling anxious, without solid ground upon which to stand.
When the Bible is read literally, by conservatives and liberals alike, the results are all too predictable. However, if we remember that the Bible remains not only one of the greatest pieces of religious writing, but of literature in general it is silly to read it superficially. Using the mimetic science of René Girard we can, regardless of educational background, unlock deeper levels of meaning with the power to respond to the issues of contemporary life and renew our faith.
On Sunday mornings we will develop a key to decipher the symbolic language and imagery found in the Bible. This will be very similar to a dream dictionary by which we decipher the meaning and significance of our dreams. Indeed, without a dream dictionary we often take our dreams too literally, depriving ourselves of an important source of self-discovery and transformation. For instance, decoding the biblical imagery concerning God’s wrath and judgment, will not only free us from a literal reading of those texts, but will uncover the ways those texts are used and abused in our own culture. At the same time, just as regular dream interpretation allows us to develop a relationship with our dreams, we will be drawn into relationship with the transformative dynamics of biblical interpretation.
The goal is that you will become, as individuals and as a church community, proficient at interpreting the deeper meaning of the Bible. This intimate relationship with scripture becomes the solid ground upon which our faith life and community is continually renewed. With the result that having freed ourselves from the narrow interpretation of the Bible we become, in the deadlock over biblical interpretation, a much-needed voice of hope and compassion for all people.
Please join us Sunday mornings at 10:15 in the Brewster Room
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