One of the things that I rattle on about, besides living in right relationship, is diversity and adaptation. This sounds very scientific and academic, but it applies across the board. See, I am not a literalist when it comes to … literally anything! And so when it comes to reading the Bible, I’ve been taught to look at it in a diverse number of ways, and be open to other ways that I am not used to, or are new to me.
This has come up in our Bible Study recently, because we’re reading Esther. And Esther is … well, religious fiction. A fairy tale. As we were reading it carefully, we realized that there were cartoonishly large sterotypes, and over-the-top descriptions, and more than one stranger-than-fiction coincidence. It is gorgeously structured, as a piece of literature, and was probably told as a story to children before the celebration of Purim before it was written down. And this idea that Jesus sat at the feet of his mother or father or uncle or aunt to hear this story of beginnings, literally sat and listened, came home to me during this Bible fellowship. But when we look at the Bible as a library of many different kinds of literature, we realize that we don’t read everything in the same way. We read letters differently than we read poetry, and we read that differently than we read science fiction/fantasy, and we adapt our filters whether we realize we are doing it or not. However, all of these different kinds of reading, inform our understanding of (wait for it) living in right relationship with God, ourselves, and others.
Saw that coming, didn’t you?