Saturday I was up in bitterly cold Minneapolis where I addressed a gathering of Covenant pastors and lay folks on reading the Bible in a postmodern context. This was the first time I’ve spoken about the stuff I’ve been writing for my book called The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible. I’ll not summarize everything, but I want to suggest there are some major shifts going on right now that are altering how many read the Bible and I hope my book can give us some grounding for rethinking how we do what we do.
First, I want to thank Jim Fretheim and the good folks of the Northwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church for the invitation and for the willingness to let me think through some of these ideas with them.
I met a bundle of folks who regularly read and comment on this blog; this is becoming one of my highlights of speaking events. (I met the pastor who wrote me the “pesky Calvinists” letter.) And it was good to see Pastor Dave Clark of Faith Covenant Church who was the host pastor.
Second, I began with how I think the postmodern generation is reading the Bible more and more and here are my six reflections. They partly overlap; they are not comprehensive; but still, I’m seeing such things:
1. De-throning science as the sole Story.
2. En-throning a subjectivity as part of the real Story.
3. Embracing a local story as part of the real Story.
4. Epistemic humility about what one concludes from the Bible.
5. Acceptance of myth and fiction as capable of truth-telling.
6. Admission of cultural influence on all texts, even the Bible.
I focused on three words that are helping us all — postmodern or not — rethinking how we read the Bible: Story, Listening, and Discerning (I’m concerned about “picking and choosing” but I hope I can say some surprising things about this in the future).