19 December 2006

Link: Ten Thoughts on the Literal and Literary

Over at Faith and Theology, Kim Fabricius writes an excellent post: Ten Thoughts on the Literal and the Literary.

This especially resonated with me:

Fundamentalist ethics are rule-based, and the answers to moral problems are found, decontextualised, at the back of the (good) book. Jesus’ preferred method of ethical instruction, however, is the parable, “subversive speech” (William R. Herzog II). Indeed Richard B. Hays argues that a “symbolic world as context for moral discernment” is fundamental to the entire New Testament. “The kingdom of God is like this.” Enter the story, work it out – then act it out!
It seems to me that this decontexualised, rule-based approach is how many (most?) inerrantists seem to miss the fact that Jesus used subversive speech, was a pacificst and really did teach that loving God and loving other people was the most important Commandment of all.

In a decontexualised, rule-based approach, one can overlay all one's own social presuppostions on to the rules. Lo and behold, you then have a religious system that supports any existing human power-structure. Constantine 1, Jesus 0.


Molly said...

WOW. This is a great post. From someone who "lives" in the world of Fundamentalism as a pastor's wife (and yet is quietly asking a lot of questions and doing some serious re-examining), I think you are really hitting the nail on the head...

PamBG said...

Glad it resonated for you, Molly.