Saturday, November 20, 2004
Got your Bible and scissors?
American Christianity finally has something the British have enjoyed for a while now: Ironic evangelism! Ship of Fools, meet your American cousin, The Holy Observer. Think of it as The Onion on a mission for the Lord.
I bring The Holy Observer to your attention because it currently features an backhanded compliment to Thomas Jefferson, patron saint of Unitarian Universalist biblical criticism. The November "Church Sign of the Month" shows a photograph purportedly of a church sign in front of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rutland. The sign says:
BIBLE STUDY 7 PM
BRING BIBLE, SCISSORS
Ha ha! Oh those crazy liberals, picking and choosing from among the passages of Holy Scripture unlike true believers who weigh each and every verse with exactly the same measure of inspired profundity and contemporary applicability!
What does Thomas Jefferson have to do with this sign? He thought the New Testament had gotten a little contaminated over the years, and filled with Enlightenment common-sensical zeal, he set out to separate the "diamond from the dunghill." (He really did use scissors.) You can buy a copy of his ethics-only New Testament, edited by Forrest Church. Or you might read this essay, by yours truly, about Unitarian biblical interpretation in the nineteenth century, or this briefer essay, about William Ellery Channing's view of scripture. Or, after you finish laughing at the Church Sign of the Month, you can simply notice that the orthodox do exactly what the liberals do: They weigh one part of scripture against another in service to what their tradition and personal experience tell them is the heart and soul of the gospel. But liberals will admit it.
Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 20 November 2004 at 10:52 AM