Further up and further in

Interpretation: the Bible Reads Us-Animate Bible #6

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The Bible is…..

  • bafflingly complex and mysterious
  • designed to provoke questions
  • a long story about God
  • a conversation
  • a book of the imagination.

These are a few of the ways Will Willamon, speaker in Animate Session #6 on Interpretation, describes the Bible.

And according to Professor Willamon, every page of the Bible cries out for interpretation. There are no simple answers.

Will suggests 5 tools to do or keep in mind while reading and studying the Bible –

  1. It's all about God.
  2. Context matters
  3. Jesus is the final word.
  4. This isn't solo work.
  5. Pray.

Will’s final question to us might be what we all will be asking as we go forward with our church’s Bible studies - “What would it take for the Bible to bore into your soul?”

Our last Animate Session will take place on Sunday, April 29th

Jay Bakker (son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker – the 1980’s televangelist couple whose ministry ended in scandal) – will be talking about Grace and Love – the bottom line in any study of the Bible.

Join us!  Everyone is welcome!


Posted by Mattie Gustafson with

Genres - The Rhythm of the Text - Animate Bible #5

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What does learning to dance the Salsa (thank you Sara Barker!), talking about techno music and learning about Bible genres have in common? All of these things happened in our Animate Bible Study this past Sunday.

Jose Morales – a minister in the Disciples of Christ Church who moonlights as a DJ, was our presenter, talking about genres of the Bible.

He started with music – all the different kinds of music we appreciate and (sometimes) don’t appreciate. He pointed out that you don’t dance to Salsa in the same way you would dance to Rock or Ballroom Music. That’s because they are different types or genres.

The Bible – which is not so much a book, but a library – is also full of different genres

  • transcendent myth
  • remembered history
  • short story
  • succinct parable
  • beautiful poetry
  • compelling gospel
  • open letter
  • inspiring liturgy
  • mysterious apocalypse.

Each of these genres invites us to dance with it in a slightly different way.

The good news is – we already know how to switch it up. We’ve been reading different genres - science fiction, romance, how-to manuals, cookbooks, mysteries, etc. – all our lives. We just need to bring this knowledge and our different expectations – or styles of dancing – to our reading of different bible genres.

Like literal dancing, dancing with Biblical genres is an acquired skill. One that takes practice and patience. Every dancer needs a good partner. How can St. Mary’s Church be a partner in helping you learn to dance with the many genres of the Bible? We began talking about this in class – stay turned to see how we are hoping to help everyone dance!

In the meantime - I highly recommend 2 of the books listed in your journals -  How to Read the Bible for All It's Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart.  There's a new, 2014, edition out and available on Amazon.  Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers and Religious Liberals by John Buehrens is also a good place to start.

Posted by Mattie Gustafson with