The Dark Side of Nothing

My Life as it spills out onto the screen.

Current Book I’m Reading

I decided I wanted to do some in depth reading/studying of the bible, church history or a combination of both. The one I’m currently working on is called “Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism: A Bishop Rethinks the Meaning of Scripture” by John Shelby Spong. I read another of his books many years ago titled “Living In Sin? A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality”. It was really good. These are written by a straight married man who at the time these books were written was the Episcopal bishop of Newark. 

  The premise of the current book is how to take the bible and lift it out of the prejudices and cultural bias of bygone eras and make it relevant to todays society with a message of hope for ALL people. I forget that when you go to study the bible in depth there can be some tough hurdles to get over for anyone who comes from a Assemblies of God/Pentecostal  background or even some of the mainstream churches. As they believe that the bible is literal, inerrant and/or infallible. (Here is the Wikipedia entry on what inerrant and infallible mean: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_inerrancy )(Basically inerrant means it’s all true including the science and infallible mean the spiritual parts are true but the science isn’t true).

  I belonged to a church many years back called the United Pentecostal Church (UPC), they didn’t believe in the Trinity (It was just Jesus with 3 titles – I was cool with this), they are very strict in what you could and couldn’t do (I believe some of this has changed but probably much has not – Women don’t cut their hair, don’t wear pants, don’t wear make-up, boys and girls don’t swim together, most homes don’t have TV’s, they were always trying to get me to wear long pants especially when at church and the list goes on). This was also the church that Jim Jones belonged to before he slid of the deep end. I attended this church the last year I was in the Army. This was also the time when I was trying to “Pray myself Straight” (It didn’t/doesn’t work!) (But no one knew this tidbit) I felt like I needed to see if God was leading me to go to a bible college. (He was but for a different reason.) Well I had one all picked out until I got out of the Army and went to visit my grandmother, who has an Assemblies of God background. Well when she found out that it was a UPC college she said I couldn’t go to one of that cult’s college and I was given a booklet that her pastor have given her that explained how you can’t read the bible literal. That some perhaps can be done that way but that lots of it was to be read figuratively. Which I always thought was a HOOT because damn if they don’t read the lines out of the bible literally that they use to say being gay is a sin. What I was getting at is the bible is none of these, it’s not literal, inerrant and/or infallible. The booklet was right in that many areas you are totally missing the point if you read it literal and other places it is written figuratively (Like God having a nose or a finger). Many areas the science is just wrong period and so is certain of the spiritual aspects. BUT if you believe that it is those things, then more power to you. But he shows why it can’t be read literal and why its not inerrant and/or infallible, BUT that doesn’t mean the book is dead. Quite far from it!! He goes on to explain how to make it alive for today and for our generation.  As my church is fond of pointing out that Christianity is one generation away from being no more. I agree because if we can’t make it alive and relevant for ALL people today then it will end up a dead book with a dead religion. 

  Right now I’m learning more about Paul, what he wrote and when he wrote it. I knew that many of the Old Testament book were written out of order or at the same time as the other books. I was amazed at how long they were probably passed on as oral tradition before they were ever written down (several hundred years!) and how there were 3 main revisions of the OT. But what really got me was when the gospels were actual written, which were long after Jesus was gone, probably 30 years for the youngest one. Actually the order of the bible isn’t the order that it was written in, we forget that when we read it, especially if the date the book was written isn’t mentioned in your bible. It is astounding and mind boggling.

  I hope I didn’t really piss anyone off. I just wanted to pass on a little of what I’ve been reading about. I read another book before this one that goes into great detail of what the original languages of the bible really say in the passages used to “bash” us with. But I can’t find it so I will have to pass on the title next time I write here. Take care all I’m off to bed!

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September 12, 2008 - Posted by | Bible, Church, Gay, Religion | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I am glad that minds begin to open up beyond narrow prespectives. That is the beggining of true enlightment. Thanks for the post!

    Comment by tasithoughts | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  2. Hey buddy I have read a lot on the bible myself. I was born and raised a Catholic but I certainly don’t agree with all that the Catholic church teaches. But I find the bible fascinating as a historical document also and I love to hear peoples interpretations of various things in both testaments. 🙂

    Comment by romach | September 12, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thanks Tasi and Romach for the comments!

    Comment by pnehem | September 17, 2008 | Reply


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