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What language for God doesn’t work
for you anymore ... and what
language for God works for you?
Any ideas why?
When we lack words for things, they
often don’t exist for us.
Naming things brings them into
existence for us.
You were pretty selfish as a baby ...
God 1.0 - meets our needs and elicits
trust.
God 2.0 - teaches us basic courtesy and
generosity.
God 3.0 - teaches us the rules society
depends upon.
God 4.0 - teaches us to love one
another.
God 1.0 - meets our needs and elicits
trust.
God 2.0 - teaches us basic courtesy and
generosity.
God 3.0 - teaches us the rules society
depends upon.
God 4.0 - teaches us to love one
another.
But who is included in one another?
God 1.0 - meets our needs and elicits
trust.
God 2.0 - teaches us basic courtesy and
generosity.
God 3.0 - teaches us the rules society
depends upon.
God 4.0 - teaches us to love one
another.
God 5.0 - teaches us to love all creation.
Ivan Illich (Austrian
former priest,
philosopher, social
critic, 1926-2002)
Neither revolution nor reformation
can ultimately change a society,
rather you must tell a new powerful
tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps
away the old myths and becomes the
preferred story …
… one so inclusive that it gathers all the
bits of our past and our present into a
coherent whole, one that even shines
some light into the future so that we can
take the next step…. If you want to
change a society, then you have to tell an
alternative story.
- attributed to Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest,
philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
“Where common memory is
lacking, where people do not
share in the same past,
there can be no real
community. Where
community is to be formed,
common memory must be
created.”
- Georges Erasmus,
Canadian Aboriginal leader,
Dene nation
The Bible is
too important
(and
dangerous) to
be left to
those who
don’t think
critically
about it ...
Slavery
and
the
Bible
The Bible is
too important
(and
dangerous) to
be left to
those who
don’t think
critically
about it ...
The African slave trade spanned 450 years. It involved the kidnapping of 11.5 million
Africans. Billions of people today still profit and suffer in the aftermath of it.
There were also many novels, counterpart to Uncle Tom’s
Cabin, such as:
Nellie Norton: or, Southern Slavery and the
Bible: A Scriptural Refutation of the
Principal Arguments Upon Which the
Abolitionists Rely: A Vindication of
Southern Slavery From the Old and New
Testaments, (1864)
by Ebenezer Willis Warren, an obscure 44-year old Protestant clergyman
from Macon, GA.  Last major defense of slavery in the U.S.
Leviticus 25:
Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou
shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round
about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and
bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the
strangers that do sojourn among you, of them
shall ye buy, and of their families that are with
you, which they begat in your land; and they shall
be your possession. And ye shall take them as an
inheritance for your children after you, to inherit
them for a possession; they shall be your
bondmen for ever.
Other passages in the Old Testament frequently cited by Old
South proslavers--
Exodus 21:2-6 (relating to the slavery of poor Hebrews)
Deuteronomy 15:16-17 (also relating to the slavery of poor
Hebrews)--
Genesis 9:26-27 (relating to the curse of Canaan to legitimize
racism)
“There is nothing, not one word, in the Old
Testament to condemn, but very much to
establish, enforce, and regulate slavery.”
(Proslaver to Nellie Norton)
Proslavers in Nellie Norton assert that the New
Testament confirms the Old Testament
witness. The Golden Rule is not
inconsistent with human slavery, they say.
In fact, slavery is a form of neighborliness
because it puts slaves in better conditions
than in Africa, and exposes them to
Christian influences, a theme known as
“the Ennoblement of the Heathen” which
was also used to justify treatment of the
Native Peoples.
New Testament Passages in Nellie Norton:
Ephesians 6:5-8 (exhorting servants to be obedient to their
masters)
Titus 2:9-10 (also exhorting servants to be obedient to their
masters)
Colossians 3:22-24 (requiring slaves to obey their masters)
“…in the catalogue of sins denounced by the Savior
and His Apostles, slavery is not once mentioned
… not one word is said by the prophets, apostles,
or the holy Redeemer against slavery … the
Apostles admitted slaveholders and their slaves to
church membership, without requiring a
dissolution of the relation.”
Additional quotes from Nellie Norton:
“…slavery is right, and its enforcement is according to the
Scripture,”
“…slavery is taught in the Bible, and instituted in Heaven,”
“…God has ordained slavery,”
“…slavery was made perpetual by the positive enactment of
heaven,”
“…there cannot be found ... in the Bible a single injunction to
slaveholders to liberate those held by them in bondage.” 
To speak against slavery “is to abominate the law of God, and the
sentiments inculcated by his holy prophets and apostles.” 
A slave “cannot sunder bonds which bind him to his earthly
master, without breaking those which unite him morally to
his Redeemer.”
Nellie Norton:
“… the Bible is a pro-slavery Bible,
and God is a pro-slavery God,”
“… the North must give up the Bible
and religion, or adopt our views of
slavery.”
John Saffin, another proslaver of the period, wrote:
Since Abraham owned slaves …
… our Imitation of him in this Moral Action is
as warrantable as that of [adopting] his
Faith. God set different Orders and Degrees
of Men in the World ... some to be High
and Honourable, some to be Low and
Despicable… Servants of sundry sorts and
degrees, bound to obey; yea, some to be
born Slave, and so to remain during their
lives.
The Biblical Argument for slavery:
The Oracular Decisions of God have positively
declared that the Slave-Trade is
intrinsically good and licit, [and that the
holding of slaves] is perfectly consonant to
the principles of the Law of Nature, the
Mosaic Dispensation, and the Christian
Law … [Thus slavery has] the positive
sanction of God in its support."
Raymond Harris, Scriptural Researches on the
Licitness of the Slave-Trade.
Robert Lewis Dabney (1851)
"Here is our policy then...to push the
Bible argument continually, to drive
Abolitionism to the wall, to compel it
to assume an anti-Christian position."
Only 1 in 11 Southerners owned slaves ...
but 40% of Baptist preachers did,
along with other molders of public
opinion.
How did the proslavers use the Bible?
How did the abolitionists use the Bible?
Which method do we want to follow?
pre 1860
John Henry Hopkins:
If it were a matter to be determined by
personal sympathies, tastes, or feelings, I
should be as ready as any man to condemn
the institution of slavery, for all prejudices of
eduction, habit, and social position stand
entirely opposed to it. But as a Christian... I
am compelled to submit my weak and erring
intellect to the authority of the Almighty. For
then only can I be safe in my conclusions.
John Henry Hopkins (1792–1868) as cited in William Webb, Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology (Grand Rapids,
Zondervan, 2009) 216. Emphasis added.
John Collins:
The Bible has contributed to violence in the world precisely
because it has been taken to confer a degree of certitude that
transcends human discussion and argumentation. Perhaps
the most constructive thing a biblical critic can do toward
lessening the contribution of the Bible to violence in the
world is to show that such certitude is an illusion.
John J. Collins, Does the Bible Justify Violence (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004) 32–33
“Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when
they do it from religious conviction.” - Blaise Pascal (Pensees
894)
Yolanda Pierce told the bitter truth in a 2015 article:
We often fail to deconstruct how proslavery theology still
influences American Christianity. But simply put:
Theological arguments upheld the institution of slavery
long after every other argument failed. American
Christian theology was born in a cauldron of proslavery
ideology, and one of the spectacular failures of the
Christian church today is its inability to name,
interrogate, confront, repent, and dismantle the cauldron
which has shaped much of its theology. We are daily
living with the remnants of a theological white
supremacy, coupled with social and political power,
which continues to uphold racist ideologies.... [C]an this
nation afford to keep ignoring the truth that black people
in America live under a threat of racial violence, never
quite feeling that we are fully equal citizens in the nation
that our enslaved ancestors built?
Meanwhile … in France:
A song lyric was written in 1847 by Placide
Clappeau, a French wine merchant, mayor
of the French town Roquemaure.
Adolphe Adam wrote the music.
Later the song was translated into English by
John S. Dwight –
It is said to have been the first music ever
broadcast over radio.
O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!
Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy Name!
Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
Rediscovering the Bible
Constitution/Contract ... or
Library/Conversation?
The Bible as
Constitution/Contract
• What purposes do constitutions (or social
contracts) fulfill?
• What problems arise with this approach?
Bible as Library/
Conversation
• The Bible as a cultural library
• Artifacts from stories within stories
LEGAL CONSTITUTION COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Uniformity Diversity
Preserve order Preserve diversity
agreement argument
enforcement encouragement
LEGAL CONSTITUTION COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Rules to live by, Conformity Stories to live by, Creativity
One publication date Many publication dates
Analyze, interpret, argue Enter, inhabit, practice
amendments? new acquisitions
Inspiration
• what would an inspired constitution look
like?
• what would an inspired community library
look like?
• how would we engage with the Bible as an
inspired library?
“Texts in Travail”
Priests
Prophets
Poets
Philosophers/Sages
“Texts in Travail”
Not contradictions ... but
contractions ...
giving birth to the Word of
God.
For Christians, the Word of
God is not a book, but a
person ...
As Martin Luther said, “The
Bible is the manger on which
Christ is presented to the
world.”
Reading the Bible
• FLAT - ALL SAME
• FLAT/SLANT DOWN - LAW PRIMARY
• FLAT/SLANT UP - PAUL PRIMARY
• TENT - JESUS PRIMARY
How to Read the Bible:
(beyond liberal and conservative)
Literal:
Like a newspaper, science text, or work of nonfiction -
attempting to tell objective, literal, observable, scientific
facts.
Literary:
Like a poem, novel, journal, or movie - attempting to
convey meaningful, mysterious, multi-faceted beauty and
truth.
Post-Critical:
After having analyzed the text, readers seek to “see it whole”
again, letting it speak to, touch, and move them.
Critical
Questioned.Tested. Scrutinized. Evaluated.Treated as human,
situated, constructed, and interpreted.
Innocent:
Taken at face value. Unquestioned. Univocal.Treated as divine,
transcendent, incorrigible, or absolute.
Literal Literary
5. Post-critical literal 6. Post-critical literary
3. Critical Literal 4. Critical Literary
1. Innocent Literal 2. Innocent Literary
InnocentCritical
Option 4: Critical Literary
The Bible is a collection of human literary artifacts, akin
to ...
a museum
an heirloom quilt
a family scrapbook or photo album
a refrigerator door or classroom bulletin board
a specialized library
Option 6: Post-Critical Literary
The Bible is a collection of human literary artifacts, akin
to ...
a museum
an heirloom quilt
a family scrapbook or photo album
a refrigerator door or classroom bulletin board
a specialized library
that can speak to us today ... touch us today ... move us
today.
Literal Literary
5. Post-critical literal 6. Post-critical literary
3. Critical Literal 4. Critical Literary
1. Innocent Literal 2. Innocent Literary
InnocentCritical
Faithful
Reading the Bible as Jesus did...
I have not come to abolish the
law, but to fulfill it ...
You have heard it said ... but I
say to you.
Abolish?
Fulfill?
Luke 4 - Isaiah 61
18
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the
captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
and the day of vengeance of our God.”
20
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back
to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes
of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
21
Then he began to say to them, ‘Today
this scripture has been fulfilled in your
hearing.’
Reading the Bible as Paul did...
Paul’s use of Psalm 18:41-49 and Deuteronomy 32:43 in Romans 15:8-10.
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant
of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the
promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles
may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written:
Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I
will sing hymns to your name.” (Ps. 18:41–49).
Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his
people. (Deut. 32:43)
Paul’s use of Psalm 18:41-49 and Deuteronomy 32:43 in Romans 15:8-10.
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant
of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the
promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles
may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “I
destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there
was no one to save them—to the LORD, but he did
not answer…. He is the God who avenges me, who
puts the Gentiles under me…. Therefore I will
praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to
your name.” (Ps. 18:41–49).
Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his
people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants;
he will take vengeance on his enemies and make
atonement for his land and people.” (Deut. 32:43)
Jacob and Esau ...
Romans 9
Nor is that all; something similar happened to
Rebecca when she had conceived children by one
husband, our ancestor Isaac. 11
Even before they had
been born or had done anything good or bad (so that
God’s purpose of election might continue, 12
not by
works but by his call) she was told, ‘The elder shall
serve the younger.’ 13
As it is written,
‘I have loved Jacob,
but I have hated Esau.’
14 What then are we to say? Is there injustice on
God’s part? By no means! 15
For he says to Moses,
‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have
compassion.’
He himself went on ahead of them, bowing himself to the
ground seven times, until he came near his brother.
4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his
neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5
When Esau looked up and
saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’
Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your
servant.’ 6
Then the maids drew near, they and their children,
and bowed down; 7
Leah likewise and her children drew near and
bowed down; and finally Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they
bowed down. 8
Esau said, ‘What do you mean by all this
company that I met?’ Jacob answered, ‘To find favour with my
lord.’ 9
But Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep what
you have for yourself.’ 10
Jacob said, ‘No, please; if I find favour
with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see
your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received
me with such favour. 11
Please accept my gift that is brought to
you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I
have everything I want.’ So he urged him, and he took it.
Romans 11
Just as you were once disobedient to God but have
now received mercy because of their disobedience,
31
so they have now been disobedient in order that, by
the mercy shown to you, they too may now*
receive
mercy. 32
For God has imprisoned all in disobedience
so that he may be merciful to all.
33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and
knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his
judgements and how inscrutable his ways!
34
‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counsellor?’
35
‘Or who has given a gift to him,
to receive a gift in return?’
36
For from him and through him and to him are all
things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.
He himself went on ahead of them, bowing himself to the
ground seven times, until he came near his brother.
4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his
neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5
When Esau looked up and
saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’
Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your
servant.’ 6
Then the maids drew near, they and their children,
and bowed down; 7
Leah likewise and her children drew near and
bowed down; and finally Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they
bowed down. 8
Esau said, ‘What do you mean by all this
company that I met?’ Jacob answered, ‘To find favour with my
lord.’ 9
But Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep what
you have for yourself.’ 10
Jacob said, ‘No, please; if I find favour
with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see
your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received
me with such favour. 11
Please accept my gift that is brought to
you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I
have everything I want.’ So he urged him, and he took it.
A fresh
vision of the
big picture
A fresh
vision of the
big picture:
- the Biblical story
- the Christian way
of life
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7
science
violence
miracles
historicity
application
lectionary
authority
7

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New Zealand: The Bible, We Make the Road by Walking

  • 1.
  • 2. What language for God doesn’t work for you anymore ... and what language for God works for you? Any ideas why?
  • 3. When we lack words for things, they often don’t exist for us. Naming things brings them into existence for us.
  • 4. You were pretty selfish as a baby ...
  • 5. God 1.0 - meets our needs and elicits trust. God 2.0 - teaches us basic courtesy and generosity. God 3.0 - teaches us the rules society depends upon. God 4.0 - teaches us to love one another.
  • 6. God 1.0 - meets our needs and elicits trust. God 2.0 - teaches us basic courtesy and generosity. God 3.0 - teaches us the rules society depends upon. God 4.0 - teaches us to love one another. But who is included in one another?
  • 7. God 1.0 - meets our needs and elicits trust. God 2.0 - teaches us basic courtesy and generosity. God 3.0 - teaches us the rules society depends upon. God 4.0 - teaches us to love one another. God 5.0 - teaches us to love all creation.
  • 8. Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
  • 9. Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story …
  • 10. … one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into the future so that we can take the next step…. If you want to change a society, then you have to tell an alternative story. - attributed to Ivan Illich (Austrian former priest, philosopher, social critic, 1926-2002)
  • 11. “Where common memory is lacking, where people do not share in the same past, there can be no real community. Where community is to be formed, common memory must be created.” - Georges Erasmus, Canadian Aboriginal leader, Dene nation
  • 12. The Bible is too important (and dangerous) to be left to those who don’t think critically about it ...
  • 13. Slavery and the Bible The Bible is too important (and dangerous) to be left to those who don’t think critically about it ...
  • 14. The African slave trade spanned 450 years. It involved the kidnapping of 11.5 million Africans. Billions of people today still profit and suffer in the aftermath of it.
  • 15.
  • 16.
  • 17.
  • 18.
  • 19.
  • 20. There were also many novels, counterpart to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, such as: Nellie Norton: or, Southern Slavery and the Bible: A Scriptural Refutation of the Principal Arguments Upon Which the Abolitionists Rely: A Vindication of Southern Slavery From the Old and New Testaments, (1864) by Ebenezer Willis Warren, an obscure 44-year old Protestant clergyman from Macon, GA.  Last major defense of slavery in the U.S.
  • 21. Leviticus 25: Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever.
  • 22. Other passages in the Old Testament frequently cited by Old South proslavers-- Exodus 21:2-6 (relating to the slavery of poor Hebrews) Deuteronomy 15:16-17 (also relating to the slavery of poor Hebrews)-- Genesis 9:26-27 (relating to the curse of Canaan to legitimize racism) “There is nothing, not one word, in the Old Testament to condemn, but very much to establish, enforce, and regulate slavery.” (Proslaver to Nellie Norton)
  • 23. Proslavers in Nellie Norton assert that the New Testament confirms the Old Testament witness. The Golden Rule is not inconsistent with human slavery, they say. In fact, slavery is a form of neighborliness because it puts slaves in better conditions than in Africa, and exposes them to Christian influences, a theme known as “the Ennoblement of the Heathen” which was also used to justify treatment of the Native Peoples.
  • 24. New Testament Passages in Nellie Norton: Ephesians 6:5-8 (exhorting servants to be obedient to their masters) Titus 2:9-10 (also exhorting servants to be obedient to their masters) Colossians 3:22-24 (requiring slaves to obey their masters) “…in the catalogue of sins denounced by the Savior and His Apostles, slavery is not once mentioned … not one word is said by the prophets, apostles, or the holy Redeemer against slavery … the Apostles admitted slaveholders and their slaves to church membership, without requiring a dissolution of the relation.”
  • 25. Additional quotes from Nellie Norton: “…slavery is right, and its enforcement is according to the Scripture,” “…slavery is taught in the Bible, and instituted in Heaven,” “…God has ordained slavery,” “…slavery was made perpetual by the positive enactment of heaven,” “…there cannot be found ... in the Bible a single injunction to slaveholders to liberate those held by them in bondage.”  To speak against slavery “is to abominate the law of God, and the sentiments inculcated by his holy prophets and apostles.”  A slave “cannot sunder bonds which bind him to his earthly master, without breaking those which unite him morally to his Redeemer.”
  • 26. Nellie Norton: “… the Bible is a pro-slavery Bible, and God is a pro-slavery God,” “… the North must give up the Bible and religion, or adopt our views of slavery.”
  • 27. John Saffin, another proslaver of the period, wrote: Since Abraham owned slaves … … our Imitation of him in this Moral Action is as warrantable as that of [adopting] his Faith. God set different Orders and Degrees of Men in the World ... some to be High and Honourable, some to be Low and Despicable… Servants of sundry sorts and degrees, bound to obey; yea, some to be born Slave, and so to remain during their lives.
  • 28. The Biblical Argument for slavery: The Oracular Decisions of God have positively declared that the Slave-Trade is intrinsically good and licit, [and that the holding of slaves] is perfectly consonant to the principles of the Law of Nature, the Mosaic Dispensation, and the Christian Law … [Thus slavery has] the positive sanction of God in its support." Raymond Harris, Scriptural Researches on the Licitness of the Slave-Trade.
  • 29. Robert Lewis Dabney (1851) "Here is our policy then...to push the Bible argument continually, to drive Abolitionism to the wall, to compel it to assume an anti-Christian position."
  • 30. Only 1 in 11 Southerners owned slaves ... but 40% of Baptist preachers did, along with other molders of public opinion.
  • 31. How did the proslavers use the Bible? How did the abolitionists use the Bible? Which method do we want to follow?
  • 32. pre 1860 John Henry Hopkins: If it were a matter to be determined by personal sympathies, tastes, or feelings, I should be as ready as any man to condemn the institution of slavery, for all prejudices of eduction, habit, and social position stand entirely opposed to it. But as a Christian... I am compelled to submit my weak and erring intellect to the authority of the Almighty. For then only can I be safe in my conclusions. John Henry Hopkins (1792–1868) as cited in William Webb, Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology (Grand Rapids, Zondervan, 2009) 216. Emphasis added.
  • 33. John Collins: The Bible has contributed to violence in the world precisely because it has been taken to confer a degree of certitude that transcends human discussion and argumentation. Perhaps the most constructive thing a biblical critic can do toward lessening the contribution of the Bible to violence in the world is to show that such certitude is an illusion. John J. Collins, Does the Bible Justify Violence (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2004) 32–33 “Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” - Blaise Pascal (Pensees 894)
  • 34. Yolanda Pierce told the bitter truth in a 2015 article: We often fail to deconstruct how proslavery theology still influences American Christianity. But simply put: Theological arguments upheld the institution of slavery long after every other argument failed. American Christian theology was born in a cauldron of proslavery ideology, and one of the spectacular failures of the Christian church today is its inability to name, interrogate, confront, repent, and dismantle the cauldron which has shaped much of its theology. We are daily living with the remnants of a theological white supremacy, coupled with social and political power, which continues to uphold racist ideologies.... [C]an this nation afford to keep ignoring the truth that black people in America live under a threat of racial violence, never quite feeling that we are fully equal citizens in the nation that our enslaved ancestors built?
  • 35. Meanwhile … in France: A song lyric was written in 1847 by Placide Clappeau, a French wine merchant, mayor of the French town Roquemaure. Adolphe Adam wrote the music. Later the song was translated into English by John S. Dwight – It is said to have been the first music ever broadcast over radio.
  • 36. O holy night, the stars are brightly shining; It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth! Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born! O night, O holy night, O night divine!
  • 37. Truly He taught us to love one another; His law is love and His Gospel is peace. Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother And in His Name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy Name! Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever! His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim! His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
  • 38.
  • 39. Rediscovering the Bible Constitution/Contract ... or Library/Conversation?
  • 40. The Bible as Constitution/Contract • What purposes do constitutions (or social contracts) fulfill? • What problems arise with this approach?
  • 41. Bible as Library/ Conversation • The Bible as a cultural library • Artifacts from stories within stories
  • 42. LEGAL CONSTITUTION COMMUNITY LIBRARY Uniformity Diversity Preserve order Preserve diversity agreement argument enforcement encouragement
  • 43. LEGAL CONSTITUTION COMMUNITY LIBRARY Rules to live by, Conformity Stories to live by, Creativity One publication date Many publication dates Analyze, interpret, argue Enter, inhabit, practice amendments? new acquisitions
  • 44. Inspiration • what would an inspired constitution look like? • what would an inspired community library look like? • how would we engage with the Bible as an inspired library?
  • 46. “Texts in Travail” Not contradictions ... but contractions ... giving birth to the Word of God.
  • 47. For Christians, the Word of God is not a book, but a person ... As Martin Luther said, “The Bible is the manger on which Christ is presented to the world.”
  • 48. Reading the Bible • FLAT - ALL SAME • FLAT/SLANT DOWN - LAW PRIMARY • FLAT/SLANT UP - PAUL PRIMARY • TENT - JESUS PRIMARY
  • 49. How to Read the Bible: (beyond liberal and conservative)
  • 50. Literal: Like a newspaper, science text, or work of nonfiction - attempting to tell objective, literal, observable, scientific facts. Literary: Like a poem, novel, journal, or movie - attempting to convey meaningful, mysterious, multi-faceted beauty and truth.
  • 51. Post-Critical: After having analyzed the text, readers seek to “see it whole” again, letting it speak to, touch, and move them. Critical Questioned.Tested. Scrutinized. Evaluated.Treated as human, situated, constructed, and interpreted. Innocent: Taken at face value. Unquestioned. Univocal.Treated as divine, transcendent, incorrigible, or absolute.
  • 52. Literal Literary 5. Post-critical literal 6. Post-critical literary 3. Critical Literal 4. Critical Literary 1. Innocent Literal 2. Innocent Literary InnocentCritical
  • 53. Option 4: Critical Literary The Bible is a collection of human literary artifacts, akin to ... a museum an heirloom quilt a family scrapbook or photo album a refrigerator door or classroom bulletin board a specialized library
  • 54. Option 6: Post-Critical Literary The Bible is a collection of human literary artifacts, akin to ... a museum an heirloom quilt a family scrapbook or photo album a refrigerator door or classroom bulletin board a specialized library that can speak to us today ... touch us today ... move us today.
  • 55. Literal Literary 5. Post-critical literal 6. Post-critical literary 3. Critical Literal 4. Critical Literary 1. Innocent Literal 2. Innocent Literary InnocentCritical Faithful
  • 56. Reading the Bible as Jesus did...
  • 57. I have not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it ...
  • 58. You have heard it said ... but I say to you. Abolish? Fulfill?
  • 59. Luke 4 - Isaiah 61 18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’ and the day of vengeance of our God.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’
  • 60. Reading the Bible as Paul did...
  • 61. Paul’s use of Psalm 18:41-49 and Deuteronomy 32:43 in Romans 15:8-10. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.” (Ps. 18:41–49). Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people. (Deut. 32:43)
  • 62. Paul’s use of Psalm 18:41-49 and Deuteronomy 32:43 in Romans 15:8-10. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God's truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “I destroyed my foes. They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—to the LORD, but he did not answer…. He is the God who avenges me, who puts the Gentiles under me…. Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.” (Ps. 18:41–49). Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people, for he will avenge the blood of his servants; he will take vengeance on his enemies and make atonement for his land and people.” (Deut. 32:43)
  • 64. Romans 9 Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. 11 Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, 12 not by works but by his call) she was told, ‘The elder shall serve the younger.’ 13 As it is written, ‘I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau.’ 14 What then are we to say? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! 15 For he says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’
  • 65.
  • 66.
  • 67.
  • 68.
  • 69.
  • 70. He himself went on ahead of them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother. 4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’ Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.’ 6 Then the maids drew near, they and their children, and bowed down; 7 Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down; and finally Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down. 8 Esau said, ‘What do you mean by all this company that I met?’ Jacob answered, ‘To find favour with my lord.’ 9 But Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.’ 10 Jacob said, ‘No, please; if I find favour with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received me with such favour. 11 Please accept my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want.’ So he urged him, and he took it.
  • 71. Romans 11 Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now* receive mercy. 32 For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all. 33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways! 34 ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counsellor?’ 35 ‘Or who has given a gift to him, to receive a gift in return?’ 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.
  • 72. He himself went on ahead of them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near his brother. 4 But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5 When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he said, ‘Who are these with you?’ Jacob said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.’ 6 Then the maids drew near, they and their children, and bowed down; 7 Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down; and finally Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down. 8 Esau said, ‘What do you mean by all this company that I met?’ Jacob answered, ‘To find favour with my lord.’ 9 But Esau said, ‘I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.’ 10 Jacob said, ‘No, please; if I find favour with you, then accept my present from my hand; for truly to see your face is like seeing the face of God—since you have received me with such favour. 11 Please accept my gift that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I want.’ So he urged him, and he took it.
  • 73.
  • 74. A fresh vision of the big picture
  • 75. A fresh vision of the big picture: - the Biblical story - the Christian way of life