Friday, September 26, 2008


got our first *spark to our presentation of theistic evolution this morning. it was pretty harmless, actually, but it reminds me just how precarious faith can be.

this anonymous comment-er was irked that we would suggest that genesis 1 was not meant to be read as an historical document, and was deeply troubled that we could entertain the idea(s) of evolution coupled with faith.

i get why that's problematic for some people. i really do.

and, when i say that i get it i'm not trying to be clever, or tongue-in-cheek, or sarcastic, or whatever.

in fact, i often think of my mom and dad and how difficult this kind of perspective is for them to accept because it is soooo different that what they grew up with.

i get it.

i get why this is hard.

but i also get that ALL our evidence suggests that genesis 1 was written well after the fact of original creation, and that ALL our scholars view it as limited by the understanding of a pre-scientific mind.

christians think that an academic reading of the bible is the complete opposite of a faith-based reading of the bible; the former is for atheists with bible-fetishes, the latter for "true" believers.

but i reject this kind of thinking entirely.

every christian HAS to be on a life-long quest to understand the bible better.


doing so gives us great humility in our perceptions of the text, because we know that - sooner or later - more information will come to light that will make our understanding more robust.

furthermore, whenever we read the bible, we must always do our best to interpret it correctly. this means asking the right questions in the right order: then, them, us.


when was it written? (it was written...then)

who was it written to? (it was them)

what does it mean today? (it means...for us)

but, of course, most christians reverse this order...and then only ask the first question:
what do i think it means?

and that question - what do i think it means? - is a dangerous question. that question has led to most of the heresies of the last 2000 years, most of the division within evangelicalism in america, and most of the apostasy within churches in the declining "christian" west.

so, back to our anonymous comment-er, i get why our "take" on genesis is difficult.

but what i don't get is why christian people, by-and-large, feel that they are unquestionably right in their assumptions about scripture.

i don't get why more of us aren't more open to hearing biblically substantive, god-honoring, academically credible presentations of christian spirituality.

and what could be more important than accurately framing the story of god and this world?

what could be more important than correctly understanding the ambitions of god to heal the world that we have distorted with our sin? than understanding the sickness that jesus christ came to heal through his incarnation and salvific death on the cross?

that is the essence of christianity.

our starting point.

our beginning.

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