The Bible’s Bones

A Romanian pastor, the late Rev. Mircu Cocar, apparently used to offer the following wise advice to his congregation: Read the Bible like you eat a fish. Take what’s good, and leave the bones on the plate.

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  • Jay

    The trick, of course, being how to identify the bones.I don’t think I’m exaggerating if I say that any reader of the Bible will find different bones depending on what background and preconceptions they bring into the exercise. One of the things I struggle with is how to point out the bones to someone who may be in danger of choking on one of them.

  • James F. McGrath

    You’re right. I wonder if I can come up with a post on the “theological Heimlich maneuver”… :)

  • Andrew T.

    If you have a trusted local sushi restaurant nearby that serves aji (Japanese mackerel), you can ask them to deep-fry the bones for you. Like all deep-fried things, they’re incredibly delicious.There may be a theological parallel here but mostly I just wanted to recommend eating fish bones. :)

  • ulen

    Do you have any reference James? That would really be interesting.

  • James F. McGrath

    Sorry, it’s just oral tradition (although from an eyewitness!)

  • ulen

    Eye witness and oral tradition alike the biblical ‘witness’, I suppose!?

  • Robyn

    Can you clear up what exactly you mean by that? Are you saying we should pick and choose what we believe out of the bible? or I am I misunderstanding?

  • James F. McGrath

    from the pastor who said it's perspective, I think the point was to set aside the difficult, confusing, and seemingly abhorrent material and simply not worry about it, and focus on the things that are clear.If it were me saying the me thing, I would suggest that some of the things that are clear are the heart of the problem, and the only reason for treating them as "unclear" is because of the difficulty we have accepting that the bIbke says what it seems to in places.I think it is more a case of recognizing that there are things that we have to "leave on the side of our plate", things that even the most ardent self-proclaimed literalist will find they cannot take literally, things that even the person who avidly affirms the need to believe the whole Bible in fact does not believe, whether they simply aren't aware that it is in there or they explain it away.