I finished my four-month read through of the Bible on Christmas Day. As a program note for the blog, it resulted in more material being published than I have published in any other four month period, and I suspect that casually interested readers of the blog had more JimII than they could use on a daily basis. Accordingly, I encourage those who are interested to read some of the old posts and share your thoughts. I am pretty good about responding, giving us at least three exchanges toward a conversation.
Taking a step back from the project, I see my faith as having three distinct sources. One of them is the Bible. This project obviously most helped me focus on that aspect. Another is the Church, which includes tradition and fellow Christians. As a free church Protestant, the role of tradition is probably less than it would be in a more liturgical denomination, or one that pre-dates the formation of the Bible. But, my faith has nonetheless been shaped by what the Church teaches, dramatically so if you include lessons from fellow Christians. The final influence is personal revelation. For me, that is overwhelmingly the result of rational analysis, although I have experienced moments that I seem profoundly different from intellectual excercise. Are these moments best described as emotional, spiritual, hormone induced? I don't know. But they shape my faith as well. I bring that up at this point because no matter what I say or think about the Bible, it is probably the least significant influence on my faith. And, I think that is true of most Christians, even though many will not admit it.
Which leads me where I want to begin in my specific global response to the project. I want to write one post on what I think people seem to get wrong about the Bible. In other words, what do people with an agenda say is in the Bible that really is not, or is in the Bible, but not very prominently. I also want to write a post about things in the Bible that are harmful, and ways that I believe it has been and can be used as a tool of evil. Finally, I want to write a post about what I get out of the Bible, and why I think it is a worthwhile source of faith.
That should keep me occupied this week.