Friday, March 1, 2013

more on Judges

{I'm attempting to read the whole Bible during Lent this year, and blogging my way through it. The Bible is an old friend, but we fight sometimes. Ever hear of quitting something cold turkey? Well, this is my way of starting something cold turkey, if that makes sense. I'm facing it head on, with my eyes open, and a new way of reading. My hope is to read the entire text through the lens of Jesus (I'm figuring out what this means as I go along) and attempt a balance of honesty and charity, both of which I've lacked in the past. See also: The PentateuchJoshua, Judges and Ruth.}

I came across a post about the book of Judges this morning. The author was able to glean a lesson about the consequences of doing whatever is "right in our own eyes", as the text says Israel did, over and over, which I can appreciate, but I'm still scratching my head and wondering if this LORD is my Lord, because of some of the commands He gives.  I  agree that when we only do what seems right to us, without consulting a greater wisdom, it usually turns out very bad. The thing is, the Israelites' greater wisdom (the Mosaic laws) still seems pretty unjust to me, even if it contains more justice than some of what we read about in Judges (rape and murder ad nauseum.) Her reading is decidedly more charitable than mine, but we both acknowledge the difficulty of these stories.

Here's her post. I'm chewing on it.

In related news, Ricky read something to me this morning from Brian McLaren's book A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions that Are Transforming the Faith. It speaks to my question: is the LORD of the Old Testament the same God that we now serve?  Another way I've seen this described is: did Jesus change God's mind about humanity or did Jesus change humanity's mind about God? (And, I would add, is that still happening?) Here's what McLaren has to say:
I'm not saying that the Bible is free of passages that depict God as competitive, superficially exacting, exclusive, deterministic, and violent. But neither am I saying that those passages are the last word on the character of God. I am not saying that the Bible reveals a process of evolution within God's actual character, as if God used to be rather adolescent, but has taken a turn for the better and is growing up nicely over the last few centuries. I am saying that human beings can't do better than their very best at any given moment to communicate about God as they understand God, and the Scripture faithfully reveals the evolution of our ancestors' best attempts to communicate their successive best understandings of God. (Kindle loc.1786, emphasis mine.)
I'm chewing on this too.

If you care to comment, I'd like to know where you land on this, or if you've landed for that matter. I lean more toward McLaren's point of view, but I wouldn't say I've fully landed. Feel free to de-lurk :)

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