Thursday, August 04, 2016

Rumbling with the Bible

I want to take Brene Brown's concept of rumbling with the stories we tell ourselves (in Rising Strong) one step further. A couple of years ago, a pastor was teaching a Bible Toolbox class at church. One of the techniques was to look for the gaps in Bible stories. What is it we do not know when we read the story? What facts are left out? 

To take that even further, what about bible study? What "stories do we make up" about what we read, and what does that tell us about who WE are rather than what the original meaning was? What is God telling us about what the story means to us when we realize what we have used to fill in the gaps of the story?

Someone was teaching Sunday school a few weeks ago. He said (and he was quoting the resource he was using) that Mary's parents sent her away to visit her cousin Elizabeth because they were ashamed of her, and needed to get her away from their community. He said it as if it were a fact, but the Bible doesn't say that. I think that the writer of the resource assumed that because that would have been something that might have happened in his community in the past. We lay our experiences on the story.

When the rich man walks away, sad, after Jesus tells him to sell all he has and follow him, we assume he didn't do it. In fact, we state it as a fact that he walked away, leaving Jesus behind. It doesn't say that.

There are lots of examples of those kinds of gaps that we fill in with our own preconceptions and with what we have been taught, assuming it to be truth. 

We need to struggle with our interpretation of gaps. We need to find them, and examine them, and discover what it is about ourselves that leads us to fill in the gaps, JUST THAT WAY. That can tell us about ourselves.

More than that, I think looking at what we add to the stories can be a way we discover what God is trying to tell us through the stories. It can be a type of Bible study to open our minds to the gaps in the story and discover how we fill them in, and what God is telling us about the assumptions we make. We can learn more about ourselves, and more about God by rumbling with these stories.

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Blogger birdwatcher said...

Do we "fill in the gaps" based on what we might do in these situations? or what we hope we would do? And then do we take as "authority" the interpretations of others who may propose an answer that fits our way of thinking? Is all this part of "rumbling"? Great food for reflection. Thanks

8:59 AM  

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