Two blog posts by Chuck Queen intersected with one another, and both made important points in memeworthy fashion. In one of his posts, Chuck focuses in on the oral tradition that preceded, influenced, and in some cases is incorporated into the New Testament. He writes:
The written documents that constitute our Bible are snapshots of an evolving, developing, dynamic faith frozen in time.
The faith reflected in these written sources thrived in an oral culture that did not depend on written materials. Writing materials were expensive and few could actually read and write. So the stuff of faith – stories, poetry, wisdom sayings, etc. – were passed down orally. This oral tradition was flexible, fluid, and easily adaptable to different situations and historical contexts.
This process meant that faith was constantly on the move – changing, growing, branching out into new forms, and always finding fresh expressions in different settings.
He then adds:
Christians who claim that the Bible gives us an infallible, fixed revelation of truth for all time must deny or completely ignore the historical processes of evolving faith that the Bible clearly mirrors.Shouldn’t we be at least as spiritually and theologically creative and imaginative as the first disciples? Shouldn’t we be as open to a changing, expanding, evolving faith as they were?
In the other post, he addressed the same topic:
It’s important to keep in mind that the early Christians lived in an oral culture where there were few written texts (very few could read and write, and writing materials were expensive). Christian traditions were passed down orally. These traditions were interpreted and adapted to ever-changing circumstances. They were constantly evolving, taking on new forms and finding new expressions. The written texts reflect this oral tradition fixed in time. And while their evolving faith became fixed in time through a written text, their faith never stopped evolving. Nor should ours!
To fixate on the photos is to make idols of the record of the people, places, and things, the words and ideas, rather than the actual living realities that photos are never a substitute for.