Okay, I’m going to head down a new path and do something new. I’ve gotten bored with trying to give insight into the weekly lectionary as an assist to any clergy that might be reading this blog. At this point, I don’t know if any are reading it since I don’t get any feedback.
Therefore, I’m going to do some shorter messages based on what fascinates me — substituting new words into Gospel and NT texts that are viable alternatives to the traditionally sanctioned words. When I do this, it often broadens, deepens, and even changes the meaning of the text for me.
I believe there is a possibility that the earliest translators of the Bible into English (God bless their efforts) were products of their tradition. They worked hard at repeating 4th century theologies in English. Merely converting Latin to English cost a couple of people their lives. To change the way the church interpreted the text would have been less acceptable.
Every one of us was given a foundational theology that formed our initial beliefs. Those beliefs were not chosen by us, they were given to us to believe. How can a six year old argue with what he or she was told about God?
“Don’t steal that cookie, God’s watching you!” (and will punish you if you do).
God drowned all the bad people in the flood because they were disobedient.
God figured out a way to satisfy God’s need for justice, so he sent the Son of God to be murdered.
Every translator of the Bible who’s consumed these “truths” by the tradition will find a way to repeat that theology with words that fit his or her theological foundation…even though there are other options available.
It’s good for children to start out with some foundation of teaching that prevents them from hurting themselves and others. But one day, after reaching the age of maturity, they are going to be expected to sort out the good information from the bad information as I explained here.
As Martin Luther said in his sermon on John 10:1-11, the sheep must judge for themselves about that which is laid before them. He reminded us that Jesus said the sheep know which is the right voice to follow. The sheep not only have the right to choose what beliefs they follow, but that makes them responsible for their own eternal life…so they’d better take it personally and seriously.
Do people really think that the Judge is going to accept this excuse: “But Lord, that’s what the church told me I was supposed to believe…” Will the Judge listen to grown adults pleading with childish excuses for why they followed the wrong voice?
The difficult part is trying to figure out what’s influenced more by mythology and tradition than by what the gospel writers intended. That’s all I’m trying to figure out.
That’s why I’m going to pick out words in the gospels texts and offer supplementary options – then it will be your responsibility to sort through the net of information and choose what helps you live the quality of life God wants for you today.
I suppose that’s what my next post on this new path will have to be about – “demons” which shows up in the Mark 1:29-39 text. I hope you’ll join me.