Monday, January 16, 2012
It's a Jungle Out There
Ur? This is not a text! For the next twenty minutes, please write the word "your" on the blackboard.
It's not just me. Because the Catholic Church realizes that a lot of the language and imagery in the Bible is loaded with symbolism and layers of meaning, the Church in Her wisdom would rather you didn't dig around in there on your own.
On top of which, which Bible are your reading? Which translation?
Digging around in the Bible on your own is rather what caused the giant mess of denominations that now crowd the planet. Martin Luther was mad at the Church, thought the authority was corrupt and advised everyone to skip the 'middle man' and just interpret the Bible for yourself. As soon as that happened, everyone had their hands up, yelling, "I think it means this! I think it means that!" And the next thing you know you have Calvinism and Puritans, Methodists and Seventh Day Adventists.
Hence my admonishment "a recipe" for disaster. You can follow the recipe by reading any history of the origins of the various Christian denominations. One group of people sitting in pews doesn't agree with one little thing that some of the other people sitting in those same pews think that one little passage in the Bible means and the next thing you know they've built their own pews and before you know it, you have Jim Jones preaching in a remote jungle to get away from everyone else's interpretation.
Yes, we'd like you to actually read the Bible, by yourself even. But before you find yourself in a jungle drinking Kool-Aid, please then go back and read about how the Church interprets what you've read. And if you're going to sit around in a group and discuss it all, make sure to do some research about tonight's passages before you have a bunch of hands in the air, yelling, "I think it means...."