Tuesday, June 11, 2013

God as Other: Why so Complicated?

Well, in Dale's absence, I've managed to find a podcast we recorded a while back but haven't released yet.  I think this is a good time for it.  Our discussion starts with a question: "If God is real, why doesn't He make himself known in a way that is obvious and unmistakable?"  This ties back into our discussion about reading the Bible as non-fiction, "Made for the Story", and my thesis.  This is a common question grounded in some assumptions about God and language and faith that don't make a lot of sense.  God wants a relationship--as such, he approaches us in ways that allow us to ignore or reject him.  He does not force himself upon us, and he speaks and appears in ways that require a response, without dictating a particular response.  That responsibility is vital to faith and life.  Ultimately, God appears as the "Great Other" who challenges our self-conceptions and doesn't always act in ways that are either comprehensible or desirable from our perspective.  But that is the great difficulty of loving another rather than yourself--different choices, different actions, different words.


God as Other: Why so Complicated?

Hopefully, next week we will continue our discussion of the Bible as Nonfiction with an exploration of practices of good interpretation.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Reading The Bible as (Non)fiction: Why Interpretation Matters

Well, for those who said they don't always have time to listen, we're late this week.  It's been a busy and crazy couple of days, so I apologize for the late post.

This week is the first of a set of podcasts exploring the Bible as nonfiction.  This particular podcast grew out of discussions I have had on Reddit about reading the Bible.  When I was writing my thesis, I had to wrestle with the concept of nonfiction and the common idea that "nonfiction" can be opposed to "fiction" in the way that "true" is opposed to "false" or to "lie".  Some thinkers go so far as to argue that nonfiction is always fiction to begin with.  The point is not that there isn't a difference, but that nonfiction, like fiction, is a creative expression, rather than an actual reproduction of events.  For my thesis, I was interested in nonfiction as a story which demands recognition for the particular way it orients itself to a shared reality.  In other words, there is something different between merely telling a story and saying this story happened to me (or someone I know).  The latter demands a different kind of response.

So, this week, we take up questions some of our awesome listeners have asked about objective truth and the use we make of the Bible.  I realize this may be a little difficult for some of you to grapple with, but I hope you will bear with us at least through this week and the next as we explore what this means in terms of Bible study and interpretation.  How we understand the Bible makes all the difference and is shaped by our own experiences.  Imagining things to be otherwise denies our experience and stories (our testimony), leaving us in a frighteningly lifeless place.


Reading the Bible as (Non)fiction: Why Interpretation Matters

Next week, we will look at some practical ways of applying this orientation to the Bible and life.