The Courage to See

Essay by Kevin G. Thew Forrester, Ph.D. on 14 November 2019 0 Comments

What an existential conundrum it is for us human beings as we long for someone to see us for the truth of what we are, while at the same time fearing to be seen for the truth of what we think we are and that others might perceive. A very tiring dance.

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Question

Why do some progressive Christians seem to ignore what the Bible says on gender, race and sexuality?

Answer

Thank you for that question, Christina from New York.

I will declare for myself as a progressive theologian: I believe God is still speaking. Why would God stop revealing herself to us? She wants to be seen, known and loved (the Gospel according to Alice Walker in The Color Purple.) When the canon was closed on scripture; a committee decided on what would be in the Bible and what would not. Yes, they were inspired, those committee folk. Yes, Holy Spirit was hovering close by, helping them to hear each other but, more importantly, to hear God. And they were also human; maybe they put in the Bible what already resided in them. A bible birthed by human hands will inevitably fall short of the Glory of God.

So, I try to bring my full self to my love of God. I listen with heart, soul and mind. I study the historical context of the writing and listen for what was being said or seen in that time. I prayerfully as, what do these sacred ancient texts say to me now? How are the words script for my life? I cross reference words—what do they mean elsewhere? I don’t ignore the Bible, I love it. But each of us needs to be a critical reader, and a great listener, diving into texts with emotional intelligence. What does this text say to me or about me and my friends? To me? How can I live better?

Most importantly, I ask, what’s love got to do with this text? This theology? I interrogate the Bible through the lens of love. Jesus made that hermeneutic abundantly clear. What’s love got to do with it? Everything!

~ Rev. Jacqueline J. Lewis, Ph.D.

 

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