Wednesday, March 25, 2009

This week's lesson: confidence in prophecy

This clip from Firefly does a nice job summing up the paradox behind this quarter's Sabbath School lessons.

On the one hand, we're being asked to believe something that is clearly nuts. If you told me you were in touch with citizens of the NGC 6438 galaxy after all, I'd make sure you weren't between me and the door. But for the last three months, we've been blithely discussing something far stranger, i.e. the idea that the creator of NGC 6438 (and all the other galaxies besides) was in constant contact with an Iron Age tribe -- and what's more, the record of these contacts is still binding on our beliefs and behavior today.

Crazy, right?

And like River Tam in the video, all this craziness makes us want to "fix" the Bible. Update it. Have it make sense in light of all that we know to be true today.

But to paraphrase Shepherd Book, we don't fix the Bible; it fixes us. And even with all the problems we've discussed this quarter -- problems of context, problems of philosophy, problems of just how you try to make sense of it all -- the fact remains that something happens when I read the Bible that doesn't happen with any other book.

Yes, the Bible challenges me. It troubles me. It points out my weaknesses. And it helps me grow.

Crazy as it seems, in other words, the Bible makes me a saner person.

To be sure, I still have a lot of questions.

But I keep coming back to the fact that, if it's crazy and it works . . .

Then it's not crazy.

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