Monday, 12 May 2008

I read the Bible to get cross, have new ideas and begin in some small way to make sense of my life

Our friend Simon Barrow has put this wonderful quote by biblical scholar Walter Wink on his blog:

"I listen intently to the Book. But I do not acquiesce in it. I rail at it. I make accusations. I censure it for endorsing patriarchalism, violence, anti-Judaism, homophobia, and slavery. It rails back at me, accusing me of greed, presumption, narcissism, and cowardice. We wrestle. We roll on the ground, neither of us capitulating, until it wounds my thigh with 'new-ancient' words. And the Holy Spirit is there the whole time, strengthening us both."

I hadn't come across that quote by Wink before and I love the way he talks about wrestling with the word until it somehow wounds us. I think it's brilliant to use the wrestling and wounding motif from the story of Jacob to talk about the engaged reader of the Bible. I often use Hans Ruedi Weber's idea of the Bible being the "book that reads me" but at the moment - after a hard weekend of sermon writing - Wink's idea of it being the book that wounds with which I wrestle speaks to me even more of the attempt to shake meaning out of life and experience in the light of the ancient texts. It also fits in well with Arthur Frank's book on the Wounded Storyteller which I'm reading at the moment.
So why do you read the Bible and what best describes your experience of doing that?


marcelo said...

hey... i was responsible for the translation of rudi's book into portuguese!

Jane said...

HEy that's brilliant!
I also really love Experiments with Bible Study which I've translated in part into French

Eusebius said...

I'd have to say that my Bible reading is a little less visceral. Just as I try to be kind to people I meet, I try to think the best of the Bible--even the really hard parts. I assume that there is a message even in those tough parts that people have, do or will need to hear--even if I in my context do not.

Some vastly oversimplified examples...
1.) Slaves need to read Exodus.
2.) People suffering under oppressive governments need to read Revelation.
3.) Affluent people need to be reading the Sermon on the Mount & synoptic stories.

Thanks for your blog Jane; I have been enjoying it for some months now.

Jane said...

Thanks Eusebius
I suppose I am rather visceral
I do also read the Bible to calm me down and offer me hope
but much of my life is about wrestling - with texts, organisations, processes etc so the Wink image really spoke to me
Thansk for the encouraging comments I shall try to get back to blogging as normal over th eweekend