top of page

Poking at the Foundations, II

Just because I question the use of scripture doesn’t mean I’m not surrounded by it in other ways. Often blessed by and deeply appreciative of it, in that fashion.

There are significant texts that catch my attention, for instance. Whenever Colossians 3:12ff or Habbakuk 3:17ff arise in social or liturgical settings, or even just in passing, I pay attention. These, and others like these, have spoken to me in the Sacred, in the past. I do recognize an ancient mystery in holy writ, in other words. Centuries of creation-translation-transmission and prayerful use amidst generation upon generation of human beings mean scripture ought always to be in the mix somewhere.

I’m also immersed in communities that quote scripture nearly as often as breathing. Friends, new and old, quote scripture to me, which I don’t mind. Sometimes even appreciate. I work in a seminary with a strong evangelical-Pentecostal ethos (now), so scripture is the plumb-line for orthodoxy and protected belonging. Drop the right verse at the right time and the group gathered recognizes its ‘in-speak.’ Being more Presbyterian-Quaker, I don’t participate much in this norming behavior. As I have tenure, colleagues (mostly) tolerate my reticence(s), probably considering me less faithful. Perhaps this leads them in faith to pray for me. The more people praying for me, the better, I figure, so win-win.

Presbyterian approaches to the text(s) are much more historical-critical, analytical, scholarly. I excelled in that approach when seminary required it of me, but as soon as I could be free of it, I relinquished it, with relief. Today, I can pray a verse of scripture in a lectio-divina fashion, ruminating on it within my cells, but that’s it. I don’t trust Protestant/Catholic uses of scripture, governed by ego-systemic hermeneutics. As a new colleague wrote, “It’s no longer enough for me, and I’m angry at one point that it was.”

Quakers have a looser relationship with the text(s), at least the Dayton Friends Meeting does. There is still a quasi-Christian ethos/traditional flavor to the group, but scripture doesn’t inform the weekly Meeting for Worship in the more Protestant-Presbyterian (preaching) fashion. A verse might become a query for the Meeting, but always with other Quaker voices, writings. This seems eminently responsible and holy to me.

Perhaps my increased incapacities for scripture are simply refusing to stomach the manner in which it is used and abused, steeped deeply in centuries now of a collective unconscious. I see more shadow than light in the archetype of holy writ. Or perhaps its this unconscious, socialized acquiescence to centuries of normed practice, with an assumed proof of fidelity in piety and information-based expertise, that grates on my sacred skin.

I’ve rarely given the bible much thought or air-time these last years, except when my profession required it. Much more life-giving is the invitation into the contemplative, the containers that invite women (and men) to come to voice—their own intimate, vulnerable voices—and the presencing-journeying of listening with any/all who will show up.

And Godde still speaks…all the freakin' time.

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Hess Condensed

A more public feed of brevity

for a prolific process-blogger...

bottom of page