“I’m a citizen of a superpower. I was born among the conquerors. I live in the empire. But I want to read the Bible and think it’s talking to me. This is a problem.”
Brian Zahnd has a “problem with the Bible.” Unfortunately, I often share the same issue. What is our problem? We are reading ourselves into the story wrong:
… the Bible is [told] from the vantage point of the underclass. But what happens if we lose sight of the prophetically subversive vantage point of the Bible? What happens if those on top read themselves into the story, not as imperial Egyptians, Babylonians, and Romans, but as the Israelites? That’s when you get the bizarre phenomenon of the elite and entitled using the Bible to endorse their dominance as God’s will…
…This is colonists seeing America as their promised land and the native inhabitants as Canaanites to be conquered…
This a powerful statement that points to a profound issue. People living in 2014 are going to have to invest curiosity and time in order to learn how to read the Bible right.
The Bible is a 2000 year-old collection of books written over a 1500 year span of history. It was written in foreign languages and ancient cultures. In order to grapple with its truth, we must also grapple with its language and culture and perspective. As Brian says:
I am a (relatively) wealthy white American male. Which is fine, but it means I have to work hard at reading the Bible right.
(The artwork is by Marc Chagall)