Posted by: smstrouse | November 19, 2011

“The Once and Future Bible”

Today I put in a brief appearance at the Bible Seminar, the latest project of the Westar Institute who brought us the Jesus Seminar. This year’s event was held in Berkeley, so I allowed myself the time for one workshop: Gregory C. Jenks on ‘The Once & Future Bible.’

I was intrigued by the stated goal of the Bible Seminar: “to coax critical scholars out of the library and into the public square because basic critical scholarship can make a difference. What is the Bible? How did we get it? What does it really say about sexuality, the role of women, and family values?”

I have to say that as much as I enjoyed the presentation, there wasn’t much that I hadn’t heard before. To be fair, I often use the lectionary commentary on Greg Jenks’ ‘Faith Futures’ website. And I’ve attended other Jesus Seminar lectures and read a lot of Borg, Crossan, Spong, and other regular contributors.  So that’s not a criticism.

What I would have liked (and I say this after most of these events) is interaction, discussion, conversation among the participants.  Because, in my opinion, what is really needed is a strategy of actually getting critical scholarship into the public square.  Or rather, getting the fact that there are churches where members can be critical thinkers – who can ask questions, can reconcile faith and science, can welcome the full range of human diversity, can ‘take the Bible seriously but not literally’ – into public consciousness.

I believe that there are a whole lot of people out there who would welcome – or at least maybe skeptically check out – such a church.  But I know how hard it is to get the word out. So I’d welcome some lively conversation about it.

I talked to the guy sitting in front of me during one of the breaks.  He’s a member of an Episcopal church in northern CA, but he doesn’t attend anymore. He’d like to find a church that’s more progressive, but hasn’t been able to find one in his area. Jack Spong would count him among his ‘church alumni society.’  How many of them are looking for us?  How do we find each other?

Let’s talk.

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Responses

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    • I will always be posting from a progressive Christian perspective. What in particular are you hoping for more of?

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