Deepening Faith. Living Well. Enacting Justice.

Faith Formation Focus by Janen Wright

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJune 2014–Rediscovering the Bible

I am very excited that, starting in the fall, the kids will be studying timeless themes in the Bible.  I will be the first to admit that, though I read all the bible stories numerous times as a youth, my bible has been gathering dust on the shelf for many years now.  There was a day that I thought I would never willingly open my bible again since Christianity and all it entails seemed a closed chapter in my life.

A couple months ago while I was looking into different curriculum options for our kids I noticed that some great lesson plans were based on bible stories– told with a UU slant.  Because I know our kids love a good story I looked down the title index and was surprised to feel like some of those names stirred my heart like hearing the names of long lost friends.  David (he was always my favorite), Solomon, Samson, Daniel, Bathsheba, Ruth, Martha, Mary, Jesus.  

 I recently came across an article by UUA past president, Rev. John Buehrens.  The title caught my attention.  “Why Bother with the Bible—Interpret or others will do it for you. “  He says, “the influence of the bible remains pervasive in our culture, its language and stories resonate throughout our literature and public rhetoric…. Many of our contentious political debates in our public life- over issues of sexuality, economics, even foreign policy –disguise sharply divergent interpretations of the Bible…. We religious liberals too often simply cede our power to opponents when we leave interpretation of our religious heritage or the meaning of our nation, or authentic “family values” to the reactionaries, the chauvinists, and the bigots.” Strong words and true.

Buehrens also reminded me that UUs are the spiritual beneficiaries of radical reformers who insisted that scriptures should be available to everyone so that all might claim their powers of interpretation and understanding.” On the other hand, UUs also have a heritage of humanists who insist, “the bible is human literature about the divine not divine literature about humans.” So our heritage, when it comes to the Bible, is vast and multi-faceted.

I like how forthright Tom Goldsmith of Salt Lake City is.  He says, ”the Bible is like Santa Clause and sex.  Children hear about it on the playground or on the street, whether or not their parents discuss it with them.”  So let’s discuss it.  Let’s teach our children the rich variety of morals and human issues and experience that is to be found in the bible.  The Bible is foundational to the culture we all live in here in the United States.  We don’t have to interpret these stories in the same way our friends from other faiths might do but I believe the Bible can be a valid guide, along with other sacred text, to living a good life as a Unitarian Universalist and we have a great year awaiting us.  


Janen Wright, Lifespan Faith Development Director

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