A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Friday, November 21, 2008

Week #4 - The Blue Parakeet

Here's a summary of the Thursday morning bible study (November 20) on the book, "The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible" by Scot McKnight.

Chapter 9 - We began by taking a quick test on what we believe should be applied today from the several commandments found in Leviticus 19. We agreed that we should not slander (verse 16) but didn't feel that to not wear clothing with two kinds of material (verse 19) was necessary to apply in the 21st century.

This chapter in the book also pointed out that while we agree that pre-marital sex is wrong that we should also understand that in today's world, in many ways, it's more difficult to refrain from pre-marital sex than it was in the time of the bible. One of the reasons for this includes the observation that people in bible times married a lot younger than people today, making it much more difficult to resist temptation. This doesn't change what is right or wrong but we should be aware of these cultural differences.

Chapter 10 - The author gives examples of how some issues within the bible have been adapted even within the bible. For example, the early church (Acts 15) after a lot of discussion and disagreement, finally came to the conclusion that circumcision was not necessary for non-Jewish males who wanted to become followers of Jesus Christ. Baptism ended up taking the place of circumcision for the Christian community.

Other examples where we see adaptations within the bible itself include divorce/remarriage, styles of Christian women, and the death penalty. Regarding divorce, our group discussed how emotional/physical abuse should be considered as grounds for divorce today even though this issue is not specifically mentioned with regard to marriage in scripture. Jesus allows for divorce in the case of sexual infidelity and Paul allows for divorce if a non-believing spouse wants out of the relationship. The point the author is making is that if the bible adapts on the issue of divorce, we should adapt in our day and age as well as long as we keep in mind the overall grand narrative of the bible and the meaning of marriage.

This session brought out out a lot of group discussion about these many topics on how we should apply biblical commandments in our day and age. The author claims that in order to be faithful to following the bible, we need to use wise discernment in applying the scriptures to our cultural context.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, our next session on this book will not be until the first week of December.

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