Overview of Christian Scriptures begins tomorrow, Thursday Aug 27. As I’ve been preparing for the course, an unexpected bonus gift has been a new way of seeing the Sacredness of Sacred Scriptures.
One of the topics we’ll discuss is “Why read the Bible? This is question that many people have been asking lately – say in the past couple hundred years, and increasingly more in the past 50 years. Today’s modern/post-modern population is rapidly exiting the church, and closing their Bibles for the last time. I closed mine for many years because as I grew intellectually and became aware of a global spirituality, I became less and less able to read the Bible as I had been taught to read it. I could no longer see it as “God’s Word” which would have any significant message for me.
The text for this course is by beloved, brilliant Marcus Borg: “Reading the Bible Again For the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously, But Not Literally.” The most significant word in that title is Again. He explains a new way to see the Bible, using the lens of the Post-Modern world-view.
Borg suggests that we see it as “Sacred Scripture,” meaning several things: the first is that it has molded our cultural-linguistic world. He says a “sacred writing” is the “Word” even if read metaphorically. It’s all about the Divine-Human relationship.
He points out that it is used as a sacramental vehicle: many people over many years have used it for guidance, or for devotional, meditative inspiration. (“I lift my eyes into the hills, from whence comes my help.” (not literally, but spiritually: when we’re in the muck and mess of life/ego, our help/clarity comes through the action of “lifting our eyes” into a higher level of thinking/being).
And, if only from a cultural-anthropology standpoint, we could value knowing the Bible because it is a base from which we engage in dialogue. Many people didn’t grow up learning about the Bible. They don’t know the stories and their characters. Others know them only from their moralistic Sunday-School lessons. Others know the stories only from brief exposure to them, but really don’t know the message they bring. If we know the Bible’s stories and metaphors, we can engage in conversation. If we don’t know them, we’ve lost out on a big element of Western culture.
This course gives a look at the cultural background, the language and culture, the message and targeted readers of each book, as well as the canonization process that resulted in 27 books of the Christian Scriptures. (We have called it the New Testament, but in the desire to be more inclusive, many are converting to “The Hebrew Scriptures” and The Christian Scriptures.”)
Register now and join the six already registered in our virtual classroom for the next 4 Thursdays, 7 -9:30 pm, (eastern time) Beginning tomorrow night!
And if not this time, check out the other newly listed courses at Unity SEE classes