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Why do we still pay attention to the Bible in 2020?

Question & Answer


Q: By A Reader

Why do we still pay attention to the Bible in 2020?

A: By Rev. Fran Pratt

Dear Reader,

I consider the Bible to be the story of one particular segment of world culture’s interaction with the Divine over time. The story begins with one insular clan relating to the Divine in all the ways complex and fallible humans do, getting some ideas right and misunderstanding others. It has traditions, assumptions and rituals surrounding its understanding of higher power; some of which is timeless, others hopelessly limited. The clan grows into a tribe, then into a nation, gradually fractalizing and spreading across places and cultures; all the while struggling to connect with and understand the Divine, and never quite realizing that the Divine is within them all along. There’s a grand search for moral truth threading through the whole story – humans asking how best to be in the world? How best to live wisely? And we can see the Divine pointing the way and remaining compassionately present when It’s guidance is rejected or scorned.

Then a Person emerges from the community who is able to sum up the story and speak Divine Truth with humanity’s own voice. In this Person the Divine is wholly present; the best is fully embodied. This Person is so compelling that his brief physical presence on the earth changes the course of history in innumerable ways. He embodies Divine Love and Light, and believes that ordinary folks can do the same. He’s the catalyst for a whole new branch of the world’s Wisdom Tradition, and inspires many other Saints and Sages in history and in much of today’s compassionate work.

So, yes, I consider the Bible to be a very special and authoritative piece of world literature. The stories it contains, and the overarching story it tells, inspire and guide us still. We’re more enlightened because it exists. To me, this is good enough reason to read it. I don’t need it to serve as scientific or historical Truth (although I do think it points to *some* of that), or a rulebook. To me, the story of the Christ’s emergence from that particular Hebrew/Judaic wisdom tradition speaks to the character of the Divine. I’m grateful the Christ helped clear up so many of humanity’s misunderstandings of the Divine. And the story of the people’s movement from insular clan to the “community of heaven” speaks to the Divine’s bent toward Oneness.

I have problems with how the scriptures have been misused to justify oppression and greed, and with how the Canon was solidified (reinforcing Patriarchy, erasing women’s contributions to the faith), but that’s humanity for you. I’m free to read whatever was left out, plus the wisdom literature of other world traditions, with gratitude and curiosity. Humanity is far from moral perfection, but the Biblical scriptures have contributed to our being collectively closer to it than we ever have been. I attribute much of that to the legacy of the Christ recorded in scripture. I think the Christ is a trustworthy representative of moral truth. He embodies Love, and Love is universal moral truth.

~ Rev. Fran Pratt


About the Author
Rev. Fran Pratt is a pastor, writer, musician, and mystic. Making meaningful and beautiful liturgy to be spoken, practiced, and sung, is at the heart of her creative drive. Fran authored a book of congregational litanies, and regularly creates and shares modern liturgy on her website and Patreon. Her prayers are prayed in churches of various sizes and traditions across the globe. She writes, speaks, and consults on melding ancient and new liturgical streams in faith and worship. Fran is Pastor of Worship and Liturgy at Peace of Christ Church in Round Rock, Texas.

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