Picking and Chewing

The conservative Christian approach to Scripture has consistently led to conclusions and stances of which later conservative Christians are ashamed. When will there be an acknowledgment that it is the approach (the root) and not only the conclusions (the fruit) that are the problem?

Today in my Sunday school class we continued our discussion of commands that do not make sense to us or seem applicable. Then in the service, the sermon was about what Scripture is and what it is for. While no one accepts, believes, or practices everything the Bible says, I would like to see progressive and emerging churches also avoid picking and choosing simply based on preferences and instincts. We should not pretend that there are not difficult things that we abhor in the Bible, nor should we be lacking a rationale for why we do not believe or do certain things.

Let's toss out picking and choosing, and substitute “picking and chewing.” We should take things in the Bible, and chew them over, but should feel under no obligation to swallow them rather than spit them out. And again, we should be ready to explain why we have done so.

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  • Just Sayin’

    Unfortunately we can’t predict which interpretations are correct and which erroneous (you’ve highlighted four of the latter, none of the — more numerous? — former).

    • arcseconds

      how did we find out that those four things were wrong?

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

        It seems that when empathy (perhaps even more explicitly the Golden Rule) came to be applied, people changed their stance on the subject. And some because of such core principles adopted the stance of arguing on that basis for the equal rights of others. And so presumably we can at least say that those who work from such underlying empathetic principles, rather than using specific passages to maintain the status quo, are more likely to be judged with hindsight to have been on the right side of history.

        • arcseconds

          My question was really directed at Keen Reader, because their stance seems rather confusing to me.

          It seems Keen Reader agrees about the four above: they accept the judgement of ‘history’ or whatever.

          But for other things (presumably things currently under debate), Keen Reader says ‘we can’t tell’.

          But we could tell with the other ones.

  • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/100000023960330/ John Pieret

    The conservative Christian approach to Scripture has consistently led to conclusions and stances of which later conservative Christians are ashamed.
    Are you so sure they are ashamed of those positions? The 1842 one, probably, but the rest?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/religionprof/ James F. McGrath

      The younger generation does seem to be increasingly ashamed of at least the older of the previous positions. With the last one, it may be the generation after that.