Guided by Scripture… rather than guiding Scripture

Reading (4/365)

Last Friday (3rd June) I read an article purporting to be from an “insider” to the “Britain’s Got Talent” / “X Factor” camp that made very strong allegations against Simon Cowell and his company. In essence, he was accused of “fixing” the talent contest… and manipulating the viewers for commercial gain.

Unfortunately I can not link to the allegations because they have been removed from the blog they were posted on… albeit copies are still available.

Anyway, the following Saturday my daughter was watching a rerun of the most recent episode and I exclaimed to Dayna that it was all nonsense and a big fix. My wife, Olly, called me out on it… saying “I wanted the article to be true”.

My wife has this wonderful ability to make me stop and take stock… and this is what I did.

I wanted these allegations to be true because of my dislike for “Britain’s Got Talent” or “X Factor”. I consider their commercialisation and commoditisation of the most beautiful of all art forms to be one of the reasons why the music industry in the UK is declining.

Music should be something that comes from the heart and not the wallet… with success coming from hardwork, a great deal of hardwork, and a desire to meet the fans’ desires. As such, it’s not something that can be predicted nor should it be something that can be guaranteed.

That said… I did want the allegations to be true because it helped me to feel vindicated in my beliefs. I saw this article as justification for my dislike… I was like “there… I told you so!”

This thought then got extended… as most of my thoughts do… to matters of faith. I had a discussion with Innes Johnston recently… where, while debating the difference between persistence and stubbornness, we came to the realisation that the Bible can and does get used to justify a wide range of things.

Take human sexuality, for example… those for LGBT acceptance and inclusion will quote their verses… and those against LGBT acceptance and inclusion will quote their verses.

We read the Bible as a means of vindicating our beliefs and justifying our stances. This is because we cannot approach the Bible in an objective manner. We read the Bible through the “glasses” of our own worldview.

I read the Bible as a mid-thirties, Scottish, white, male, heterosexual, married, father-of-two daughters, follower of Jesus… who worships at the Salvation Army… is obsessed with Apple, photography, music, Tolkien and design… and strongly believes in social democracy, egalitarianism and the common good.

As such… I read the Bible subjectively… framed by my worldview.

Objectivity is not possible and anyone who claims otherwise is, unfortunately, deluding themselves.

This does not mean I cannot take the truth from the Bible… because there is universal truth contained within Scripture that is true for all people with all worldviews.

I look to the religion scholar of Luke 10 who summed up the law, when asked…

“(…) love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and (…) love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”

Love is universal: Love for God. Love for Jesus. Love for our fellow man and woman.

We may argue with our approach… with all our subjectivity… but if we hold to love of this kind… a love that is patient, kind and does not delight in evil… then surely we cannot go wrong?

We need to approach Scripture humbly… with the discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit. We should try to leave our worldviews at the door when we seek to learn from the Bible. Yes… we’ll never approach it with true objectivity… but we do need to leave room for movement… and have the humility to acknowledge if we’ve had it wrong before.

We should seek to be guided by what scripture says… in the context it was said in… with a spirit of love… and apply it to the lives we lead and the context we are in… with the same spirit of love. Rather than looking to guide scripture to justify our lives, our context and our approach.


christmas nines :: 2.46

it’s that time of year, when all our listeners are invited to join in and help us celebrate the birth of our Savior.

thanks to everyone who joined in with a reading or sharing their Christmas thoughts, reflections and wishes!

we hope you enjoy listening and are able to share it with your family and friends this holiday season.

we look forward to many more great stories and episodes to come in 2010!

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music ::
djsiah – trippin
argyle project – o come, o come, emmanuel
half handed cloud – plant a little fir tree
church of the beloved – given
sojourn – let justice roll (live)
so elated – come thou long expected jesus
william ryan fritch – may all mortal flesh be silenced
the singing company – it came upon a midnight clear
adeline – all the angels
jj heller – star of wonder – we three kings
tripp fuller – remembering
the singing company – o holy night
sufjan stevens – joy to the world