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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

Previous: Forrest Church watch: 'Good Morning America' edition.
Next: Chrismukkah in a UU congregation near you.

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3 comments:

Steve Caldwell:

November 21, 2004 11:17 AM | Permalink for this comment

The Jefferson Bible is published by Beacon Press, the UUA publishing house, and can also be purchased at the UUA bookstore online or in person.

I guess that makes the parody church sign less parody and more honest reporting on Unitarian Universalism.

Scott:

November 24, 2004 07:44 PM | Permalink for this comment

More church satire at LarkNews:

Rise of 'testimony crimes' worries police

PIERRE Police in several Midwest cities are reporting a rise in what they call "testimony crimes" committed by evangelical young people seeking to spice up their conversion stories.

"These are good kids doing bad things to give their past more punch," says police captain James Smultz.

Philocrites:

November 24, 2004 09:03 PM | Permalink for this comment

Thanks, Scott! Of course there's also Landover Baptist Church but that's satire with a vengeance.



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