(In The Life Of The Church)
Reading the Scriptures Again
Lindsay got Roy and Lilli Bibles for Easter. They now have a few Bibles, but for some reason this one took. Roy occasionally requests to read it with me before bed. I'm grateful he desires to read it and glad to accompany him in his reading.
On the first night that he began reading, Lindsay read with him. Before they started she yelled from his bedroom, "Where should we start?" Without much thought I yelled back, "John." John is the stock answer to this question. I remember receiving a Bible handout that included the Psalms and John. Apparently those are the nonnegotiable of the canon. I don't have an objection to this notion and could offer you a few reasons in support of it that you probably don't care about. So I won't. So again I answered, "John" without much thought.
John has been said to be the gospel in which children can wade and elephants can swim. Different readers can read and digest the same story and find the waters 14 inches deep or 14 feet deep. Let me give an example that I've used in a sermon on a few occasions. In John 3 Jesus is chatting with Nicodemus. The punchline of that conversation is 3:14, "And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up."
The greek word for "lifted up" is hypso. It can mean to lift up, as a crane might lift a beam or a cross as to a criminal or it can mean to exalt and glorify. John is ambiguous on purpose. The choice is yours. John's clever use of symbol and double entendre are all over his gospel. Hence the comment about the varying waters.
Now that I've spent some time reading John with a pretty rational eight year old, I for the life of me, cannot figure out why anyone would suggest that you begin reading with John. After we read the text with the woman at the well in John 4, I spent about 35 minutes talking about real water and living water and what Jesus means. In chapter 6 we read about bread of life. Add the complexities of the church's understanding about communion and I found myself confused by my own explanations.
I would now like to add that John is the gospel in which children can wade, elephants can swim and pastors with a seminary degree and 8 years preaching experience can drown.
That reminds me of a story I was told by a professor during my stint at Truett. He told us about a time when one of his mentors (probably the most significant bible scholar at Baylor at the time) was approached by an undergraduate student. This student was concerned having just been exposed to some theories about the Bible that challenged his suppositions. The students protested the professor, "I just need to know that you stand firmly on the scriptures if I'm going to learn from you." The professor replied, "why heavens no, I stand beneath them."
I found that reply helpful. The scriptures stand over me, not vice versa. As difficult as it has been reading with Roy, i find it exhilarating. Perhaps it's his enthusiasm or his virgin eyes which are able to see things that I have long forgotten, but I have found that, more than any other setting in which I read the scriptures, I'm formed by this.
A few summers ago Craig led our community in a reading of Lauren Winner's Still. In it she has a chapter called, "reading the bible in eight places." The chapter is about how where you read the bible effects how you hear what's being read. An example would be reading Jesus' words about money out loud inside of a bank. I've found that a place that helps me hear again is in bed beside my eight year old son.
Paul Ricoeur is a philosopher who has given me a helpful framework to understand reading the bible over and over. He talks about what he calls the second naïveté. It's a re:reading of what you've read before with new eyes. Usually those shaped by criticism and/or skepticism. I would add that there's a third, fourth, fifth and sixth naïveté. This is what it means to be a student to the scriptures. It's being present to the constant reality that the Spirit might teach me something new. It's being present to the reality the scriptures are living and active and that in my efforts to read them, I get read by them. It's being present to the reality that we are never done reading.
Meet the Newest Leadership Team Member ...
Vocation: (could be your job or something you love doing/believe you were made for): Professor and Chairman of Theatre at Baylor. Love doing this. Wouldn’t want to do anything else.
favorite movie: SO many, can’t even begin to decide. One that people always seem to be shocked that I like is BOYZ IN THE HOOD.
best restaurant in Waco: Texas Roadhouse, Ninfas, Chipotle, Smashburger, soon-to-be Twisted Root!
Bible verse/chapter/book that has been meaningful for you: Exodus and the calling of Bezalel and Oholiab; the first half of Ezekial—the original performing artist
best television show: Breaking Bad, Homeland, West Wing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
favorite holiday: Thanksgiving
something you might not know about me: I love Zombie movies and video games, and I’ve had a machete since I was 10 years old--two things that will make me a survivor in a Zombie apocalypse.
Pastoral Associate Applications
If you are part of our UBC community and are interested in serving a pastoral associate, you can apply by clicking here. Applications are due by 5:00pm on Friday, May 15th. Pastoral associates serve the mission of UBC by serving along full time staff to complete pastoral work as determined by the needs of our community and the desires of the applicant. Associates will be selected by the staff. Associates will make a commitment from June 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016. If you have questions for clarification please email Liz @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craig's Thank You Party
Friends, Mark your calendars. We are having a thank you party for Craig after church on Sunday May 17th. UBC will provide the food and drinks. We are asking you champions to plan on bringing a side. More information in next weeks newsletter.
In Family News ...
Tonight!!!!! our good friends from Lomelda will be playing their "Farewell Drewsky" show at UBC. Drewsky describes Andrew Hulett. Andrew is a long time UBCer, member of the UBC musical worship squad, Lomelda BGV's / guitar and film actor. You may remember him from films such as "Easy Tithe" and the "Toss: The Andrew Hulett Story (a mi case olympics promo)" video. Drewsky will be getting married and moving to Portland. There will be a $5 cover at the door, and advance copies of the upcoming critically acclaimed Lomelda album "Forever" are $10.
Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Kelsey & Haylee
Shutdown Team: The Golden Glitter Girls
Sunday Sermon Text: Acts 10:44-48
Summer Sunday School Begins June 7th
UBC Summer Party Jun 28th ... more information to come
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