Friday, December 12, 2014

What's at the Bible's Heart?

There are so many metaphors for the bible. So many ways to look at this ancient text. So many ways to attempt to decipher the message found inside its pages.

But what is the bible? At its heart, why does it exist? For whom was it written and why do people still read its words today?

We know the bible was not written as an instruction manual for life. Nor was it written as an historical chronicle of the world. Nor was it written to be a book of science or archaeology or cosmology or philosophy.

To be sure, the bible touches on all of those areas, but that's not the foundational why of scripture.

The purpose of this blog (as in the entire site) is to explore what that foundational why is and how it affects the way we view and obey scripture.

This work is, of necessity, fallible. We will make mistakes. We will turn down dead-end paths and not realized it until we've traveled many miles. We will make bold claims and need to recant. We will, through this blog, experiment with different ideas, not because we think we're right and other people are wrong, but because we think the process is worthwhile.

What process is that? You might ask.

The process of coming back to ask the hard questions about the bible. Not because they haven't already been asked, but because each person needs to ask those questions for themselves. It's not enough to simply accept the ideas of others when it comes to something like the bible. Learning how to read it, and more importantly, why to read it, is a journey that each person needs to take.

Our hope is that this blog will serve as a sort of map for that journey.

Here are a few basic rules that we'll attempt to follow:

  • No question is off limits. We'll ask the hardest questions we can about the bible (and take the hardest questions you have to offer). There is no danger in asking questions and seeking answers. 
  • No person is inherently bad or wrong. You can disagree with us and we can disagree with you, but we will not assume that you are wrong nor that we are right. That means no one has license to criticize people. We will ruthlessly critique ideas and at the same time defend the individuals proposing those ideas. 
  • No conclusion is final. It's natural for us to want to come to rest on an idea. That gives us a place from which to explore other ideas. But every conclusion is held loosely. We are not our conclusions and neither are you. We have changed our minds in the past and will do so again. 
  • No one's opinion is worth less. We will approach the bible through an historical-critical lens (because that's the way we've been trained), but when it comes to opinions (at the point where evidence is thin or absent), no person's opinion is better or worse than another's. 
  • No shouting, no name-calling and no threats. We want dialog. We want connection. We want to learn and grow through this experience. But dialog can only happen between equals on the same grounds. If you want to shout at people or denigrate others, this is NOT the place for you. Move along. Move along. 
  • No Logical Fallacies. Take a minute to review this list of logical fallacies. We're going to do our absolute best to not engage in any of them. We will fail at that. So will you. You have the right to call us on it and we'll call you on it. Our goal is to have a reasoned conversation based on evidence. Let's work together toward that goal. 

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