Monday, July 7, 2008

Theology Geek or Geek Theology

So I like Star Trek, sue me.

I'm watching the best Star Trek: the next generation episode ever. It's called Darmok, and it's about Captain Picard trying to communicate with an alien captain named Dathon. It takes the whole episode, and a bunch of useless action, to tell the story of a race of people whose language is based solely on their myths and legends. Picard has such a hard time because he has no frame of reference for the language, consider: Darmok and Jilad at Tanagra; Kiazi's children, their faces wet; Shaka when the walls fell, and Mirab his sails unfurled.

Eventually, Picard realizes the basis for the language, and the two begin to share their respective stories (Picard tells the story of Gilgamesh)and gain insight and communication.

When looking at the Bible it is vital that we consider two things: First, what did the text mean to the people at the time, and second what is the text saying to us now in our context? This is the only way a text can truly be sacred, if it can be interpreted. If we see the scriptures as literal truth then there can be no interpretation, there can be no us. I once heard a sermon where the priest remarked that a literal interpretation of the Bible was like eating a banana without peeling it first. I would add that you can do that but it is not enjoyable of necessarily nutritious. It is daoubt and questions which allow us to penetrate the strange Darmok-like world of the Bible.

For me it's the old saying: I take the Bible seriously, but not literally. The Bible is a much richer book when seen deeply, like poetry. Yes, metaphor, analogy, and other full ranges of figurative language. All this and so much more, us. It is through our engagement, our living into the scriptures, that they can be holy.

Sokath, his eyes uncovered!

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