Share ways in which you have noticed the content, questions or insights from the previous Module showing up in your lives.
As someone who is expected to lead people in Bible study at least once a week, I endeavor to be circumspect about what I ask others to do when they read scripture. I don’t want to dazzle a class into a fixation that prevents them from reading. Eloquent treatment of a passage could leave people feeling that they don’t actually need to read it—that they just need to have it read to them by someone who has studied it thoroughly. I’m not presuming to be such an eloquent reader and commentator that this actually happens with any regularity; rather, I am struggling with what SHOULD be my goal, if the goal is not a supremely eloquent reading with a savvy and compassionate commentary.
It occurred to me this week that Alison’s “revisionist history” discussion has a “revisionist reading” parallel with respect to the Bible. Now that I’ve see the topic of Module 1.4, I see this is directly where we are going. I haven’t listened to the lesson yet. I suspect that Alison will talk about an appropriate revisionist reading of scripture; I’d like to make a brief comment on an inappropriate revisionist reading of scripture—one that parallels his communist dictatorship example.
When teachers of scripture direct themselves toward a vision of the future, they will grab hold of texts and employ them for the purpose of bringing about this future state. Students of such teachers have two easy options: (i) adopt the vision whole-hog and employ the text in the same way as their teacher did, or (ii) reject their teacher’s vision and refuse to take up the text at all. In both cases, the students were never invited to be confronted by the text.
I should never allow a lesson objective to preclude my students from actually reading the Bible. I should not invite students to gaze forward upon a vision of the future; I should direct them to look back at the text with eyes that are prepared to see something new. If I’ve already decided what “new” things my students shall see, then I’m appropriating scripture—not reading it. And I’ll be setting a poor example for students who—absent another model—won’t know what to do with scripture other than appropriate it for pre-determined ends.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God. I hope I don’t inappropriately appropriate the voice of God as my own, and I hope I don’t teach others to do so. I hope I can listen to the voice of God, and direct others to do the same. Case in point: I could appropriate imprecatory Psalms and transform myself into a victim even when that is not actually the case—which would not be the Word of God. Or I can recite imprecatory psalms and hear them as a voice coming to me (not coming out of me), as training so that I am prepared to hear the contemporary cries of those who are being victimized by enemies.