Do y'all remember earlier this month when I wrote a few posts about From Stone to Living Word by Debbie Blue? It started with Rethinking Idols, continued to "Love is almost like reverse idolatry," "God is a God of life," a bit in my post on Midrash and finally The Bible -- Stoning, Slashing, Loving. I enjoyed the feedback on those posts.
Well, here are the last notes I have from her book. Rereading this first section just now, I wondered if this could be true of Scriptures revered in other faiths. Just yesterday I took a few minutes to watch a video on Wafa's blog. In it Naif Al-Mutawa alludes to his creation of the comic series "The 99" as a way of making the Quran come alive. He said too many scholars have set the Quran in stone and Al-Mutawa either said or gave me reason to believe this is why so many Muslim-majority nations are thought to be ... what's the word? I guess stuck in another century? I don't know....I realize some people like being stuck in the past as they see modernity as too wicked and maybe too fast-paced for their liking.
So read this from Debbie Blue and see if you can also apply it to your sacred book or tell me if you reject her thoughts outright when it comes to the scripture you hold dear.
On inspiration of Scripture... "..we often seem to think it means something more along the lines of it being fixed. Not made alive, but set in stone. As if inspired by God means God told people a long time ago to write down certain things and they did. And those things are inerrant, absolute, fixed, and settled. As if God's inspiration stiffens the Word rather than loosing it, objectifies it rather than breathing life into it. Because the words are inspired, we should put them under glass in a museum, worship them more than interact with them, guard them somehow, or appreciate their finality more than take them out to play. ... The church has often recognized the need to guard against bibliolatry, and way it has often done this is to appeal to the Spirit of God." (pg. 41)
I know it won't be exactly the same since the Quran is supposedly revealed from God word for word and thus perhaps it's supposed to be "fixed," but if you think more of the application of the Quran, interpreting it for 21st century living instead of years ago before automobiles, cell phones and computers were usual. Or before slavery and polygyny and child marriages and raiding caravans became more frowned upon than society's norm. And I don't think Muslims would appeal to the Holy Spirit, but maybe they'd hope for some more moderate imams and sheikhs and scholars who wouldn't have mindsets from the Dark Ages when setting down rules for the ummah.
The author continues,
"Luther says that unless the Spirit opens scripture, it is not really understood. Barth says that the texts, the words on the page, aren't the Word of God, the revelation, but the witness to the revelation....The words aren't the Word unless the living God animates these words, makes them alive somehow, breathes into them . . . This is admittedly a weird thing to believe, but it is clearly a part of the outrageousness of faith." (pg. 42)
What do you think about the words not being the "Word of God" until God makes them alive? As I thought of this I remembered John 1 where it is claimed that the Word was with God, the Word was God, the Word created all things and the Word became flesh and lived among us. Now that is truly a living, breathing, alive, animated Word!
One last thing from the author...
"Reading the Bible doesn't sort everything out and set everything straight. It's more like being drawn into another world where lines break down and separations cease and you lose your sense of righteousness, of being a victim to everyone else's wrong, and your heart is broken open, your joints separated from your marrow. The Word of God isn't a series of flat narratives with clear points; it's a wild, unmanageable 'moving, living organ.' ... Reading it closely, honestly, quizzically, doesn't actually set us straight as much as it rattles us, undoes us, sets us loose so that we might fall into the lap of God." (pg.43,44)
What do you think? Could you say the same thing about the Quran, Book of Mormon or other religious texts? Do you like the author's thoughts on the Word of God? Why or why not?