Scripture, unloaded

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means. (Inigo Montoya, swordsman)

As [the congregation] yelled, ‘Yeah!’, ‘Amen!’ and ‘Awesome!’ I wanted to yell, ‘I don’t get it!’. I love the way religion convinces people by making things deliberately incomprehensible and you feel too shy to say ‘I don’t understand’ lest you reveal your stupidity.” (Catherine Deveny, atheist)

Lately I’ve been looking at various terms, concepts, and stories found in the Bible with an eye to jettisoning extra baggage, whether I put it there myself or inherited it from tradition. Too often I think we are not careful and exact in our understanding of scriptural terms because, taken in the plain sense of scripture, they don’t suit our purposes. Instead we prefer to keep the understanding vague, even mystical, so as to make it easier to load them up with meaning that supports our own inclinations.

Alan Knox has written some short but helpful pieces on unloading scriptural terms that are commonly misused or misunderstood in this way. Two I particularly liked were the ones on worship and preaching.

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