How Did I Get Here?…with Reflections on The Bible Made Impossible

1 Comment » Written on June 27th, 2013     
Filed under: Book & Commentary
Bible impossibleThere are times when I have wondered how in the world I ever got selected to be a member of the Covenant’s Commission on Biblical Gender Equality.  I have never been outspoken on my own views on the matter.  Perhaps it was because of my role as a board member for Camp Mission Meadows?  Perhaps it was because of my leadership role in a healthcare organization that primarily employs women?  Perhaps it was because I am the father of two very capable daughters, one with the goal of someday teaching in a Seminary and the other working in a responsible position with the denomination.  Perhaps it was because I am married to a woman that is highly perceptive and skilled in counseling individuals and couples and one who is known to be open and direct in her communications at a board level.

I do know this…as a result of serving on this commission; I have become much more sensitized and educated about what the issues are for women in ministry.  I am struck and often dumbfounded as to how different camps can view specific passages in scripture in fundamentally different ways.  I am even more dumbfounded when some maintain specific positions with virtually no biblical or scriptural basis for their own chosen viewpoint.  Recently though, I have opted to not be so surprised by all of this.  After all, if the Bible was so perfectly written, then why do we have so many different denominations and varieties of faith that are based upon specific interpretations of various passages in the Bible?

I recently read the book that was reviewed in the Covenant Companion entitled The Bible Made Impossible by Christian Smith.  Smith, a sociologist by vocation, lists many many passages in scripture which are not being followed while a single controversial verse is grasped as the basis for some specific thought or principle.  I could not help but reflect on the many single scriptures that have been and continue to be used to keep women from preaching or teaching in many churches today (namely: 1 Corinthians 11:3 & Ephesians 5:22,23; and 1 Timothy 2:12) even though there are ample scriptures throughout the Bible that present an alternative viewpoint.

Smith’s book is primarily a thesis that blasts a gaping hole in what he refers to as a Biblicist view of the bible.  He eventually gets to his alternative proposal that the Bible be interpreted in a more Christo-centric view.  I find this a very refreshing way to view scripture, that Christ is the center of all.  His views rocked the religious world of his day and they continue to do so today.  I was recently reminded of this as all of the Boston area cemeteries refused to accept the body of the dead terrorist responsible for the marathon bombings for burial. A Christian woman from Virginia, Martha Mullen, sought to demonstrate the love and compassion of Jesus by seeking out a cemetery in her area that would receive this man’s body for burial.  In an interview, I heard her quote Jesus words indicating that at a minimum we were to “Love our enemies.”  And now this woman and this action may be thwarted by the local government, and she is likely to be reviled for her efforts.  How sad that we who claim frequently to be a “Christian nation” can be so cold-hearted and angry and revengeful that we would not even allow a family to bury their dead son.  He is dead for goodness sake!

It is becoming more and more evident to me that the central theme of Jesus’ ministry while he walked this earth and in fact the top two commandments that he pronounced were to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and to love your neighbor as yourself.”  It seems that our Christian nation and at times our Christian church has lost sight of this commandment to love.  I would submit that one way to love someone is to at least be willing to listen to them even when they have differing opinions, and to allow them to have those opinions.  Let us stop demanding that everyone else think like we think. Let us allow God to be God.  After all, is it not God that brings others to himself?

Jeff Ondrey
CBGE member

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One Response to “How Did I Get Here?…with Reflections on The Bible Made Impossible”

nice article.

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