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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Bible: Literal and liberal

1859 Family Bible (David Ball)
Most people these days associate a literal interpretation of the Bible with conservative fundamentalism.  However, Sean McElwee of explains five ways in which liberals can literally find biblical inspiration for their own viewpoints.

McElwee gets off to a rousing start with this quote by Reverend Cornel West:  …the fundamentalist Christians want to be fundamental about everything except 'love thy neighbor.'   In a clever version of "beating them at their own game," he then tackles political hot buttons such as
immigration, poverty, the environment, war and women – using biblical quotes to support liberal stances.

For example, McElwee quotes Leviticus 19:34 (You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God) in support of liberal immigration policies. 

He then juxtaposes that quote with this one from a right-wing Christian group:  We are called to discern among 'sojourners' (like Ruth and Rahab who intend to assimilate and bless) and 'foreigners' (who do not intend to assimilate and bless…  Which, of course, begs the question:  Called by whom?  Certainly not the "Lord your God" who was speaking in Leviticus 19:34…  That God made no mention of acceptable
versus unacceptable strangers…

Theological appetites that have been whet by this type of reasoning can find much more of it on McElwee's heaping platter.


Copyright August 8, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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