Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bibles and Rifles

The English poet Steve Turner writes about bibles and rifles and about how they are both deadly in the hands of untrained amateurs. (When I find a copy of his poem I'll post it.)

We would never knowingly put a deadly weapon in the hands of a child, but we hand out bibles, without any training or guidelines on how they are to be read and interpreted. Some of the bible is incredibly violent - it's the stuff of war movies. Other parts are incredibly erotic - do we really want a young child wandering into the book of Song of Solomon unaccompanied?

I remember catching half an episode of 'Dr Quinn Medicine Woman' once (shocking I know). A library had opened in the town and although people were enjoying the books the town Reverend decided that the books were harmful to the people's spiritual well being and stirred up the townsfolk to get the library closed. In the stirring climax, a fiery Jane Seymour told the townspeople of a book that featured Murder, Rape, Incest, Human Sacrifice, witchcraft and many other wrongs. As the congregation roared for this book to be burned, the resourceful Jane wandered up to the front of the church and picked up the Reverend's bible.

Needless to say the crowd was hushed and the Library was allowed to remain open.

For centuries the only people allowed to read and interpret scripture were trained priests. Nowadays it seems that we think people will be drawn to God if a copy of his bestseller gets left in their hotel room. It's almost as if the 'book' has become an idol in its own right...

...and everyone has their own way of interpreting it. Even the people who say 'I just read it and do what it says', actually make complex judgements about what they read, otherwise they would all be gouging their eyes out (Matthew 5: 29), and throwing all the Sopranos and Altos out of the church choir (1 Cor 13:34-35).

A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted the following video.

Depending on who you are you might find the above video offensive, distasteful, irrelevant, beautiful, romantic. A lot of it depends on how you were raised and what you believe about Humanity and God. For some of you how you interpret the bible will affect your emotional response to that video clip.

From my upbringing in the Fundamentalist church there is a lot to be offended by here. 2 gay men! Both of them Gay Ministers!! Being married by a Female Minister!!!

The friend who posted the video also posted this picture.

This billboard made me smile - I don't know whether it's a real picture, or someone being creative with Photoshop though.

There's so much in the press about the 'God Hates Fags' group that are based out of Topeka, Kansas. I read all the hate about Proposition 8 in California.

In the midst of seeing groups on both sides of the debate, injuring each other and themselves by handling the Bible as an offensive weapon, it's nice to see this photo - even if it is fake.


Susan said...

Is saying "amen" inappropriate? This is super-thought-provoking. I must go ponder...

Susan said...

Oh... don't know if this adds anything or not, but I, too, was raised in a fundamentalist group -- more like a cult, really, in this case.

I'm now a deacon in the Presbyterian church. A woman deacon! Eep!

My son's an existentialist, and we're both of questionable sexual origin.