On the BBC’s The Now Show, Mitch Benn wrote a satirical song about the Ashes where he couldn’t really say anything except that he had to kill the time. Now I am sure a lot can be said, about England winning the Ashes.
A thought occurred to me earlier as I was rushing over to work.
I am about to write a very short paper on dissecting the story of Jacob’s deception as narrative, and while I was thinking about doing it earlier, I remembered a conversation I had with one of my friends and mentors recently. He was talking about the tendency of some of our brothers and sisters to try to force the Bible into particular “themes” that suit particular agendas, most notably what we would call inculcating an American middle-class bourgeois morality (AMCBM). The context was religious education, but the tendency also tends to occur in, for instance, sermon series.
My mentor made the point that it may be all right for a moral theologian to quote from Scripture when writing an exposition of a particular moral problem, for example. I would add at this point, reflecting on what he said, that this act required a working awareness of where passages of Scripture are situated and how they are to be read. He argued that, with younger persons, we ought to be looking at things differently. Why don’t we start, he said, from the Bible, and work it from there?
He gave a very good example of how thematizing the Bible often misses the nuances one gets when focusing on the narrative. David may have been a paragon of virtue and of purity of heart, and he can be thematized as such, but his story is more, um, complicated than that.
So my thesis is this: we do have to start with the story. (Rowan Williams’s distinction between literalism and a literal reading comes into play here, as are these ten propositions by Kim Fabricius.) More on this next time.