My short answer to this inquiry is no, and yes. The no is quite simple. The yes a little more complicated.
First the Nos
- Scripture is no longer relevant (if it ever was) as a tool of manipulation or to exert power or control over another. In fact, in either form, scripture is not only dangerous, but can become a weapon (as we have witnessed throughout history – even recent history) when in the hands of the wrong person(s).
- Scripture is not a book of science. Neither is it a book of history as we understand that today.
- The Bible is not a book of civil law. Neither is it a guide for upholding nor enforcing law.
- The Bible is not a manual for gender or relationship ideals or norms. Only the ill-informed would approach it in that way.
There are likely more no’s but we’ll let these suffice for now.
Now For the Yeses
- Yes, scripture is relevant as a collection of literature gathered over a period of time related to a specific tribe of people with their own beliefs, cultural practices, and history.
- Yes, scripture is relevant as a collection of literary genres, gathered over centuries from the oral traditions of a specific tribe of people living in a specific geographic location within history. None of these writings were meant to be taken as literal and include – myth, poetry, songs, reflective pseudo-history (some things actually happened), tribal laws, erotica, liturgy, letters, and apocalyptic writings and gospels (genres unto themselves).
- Yes, scripture is relevant as a field of scholarship, especially when said-scholarship contains and includes both canonical (those writings that reflected the dogma of an already established institution), and non-canonical (those that did not).
- Yes, scripture is relevant as a field of study when one considers historical and cultural context, the literary genre in use, the author, and their audience.
- Yes, scripture is relevant when examining the theological evolution of a specific tribe of people.
- Yes, scripture is relevant in studying the reflections of a specific group within that tribe who believed they had found their messiah and the way in which this belief informed their relationship with their tribe and how they attempted to make their way beyond their tribe.
Finally, and this yes is my favorite and THE reason why I consult scripture everyday as part of my daily practice, and why I have included scripture as part of many of my training programs:
Once we pierce through the doctrine and the patriarchy’s fear-based presentation of scripture, it becomes a profoundly relevant tool through which we can access our own inner truth, tune into the voice of our own inner authority, find guidance, healing, knowledge, understanding, wisdom and comfort for our daily lives – all of which help us to remember that we are Love.
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