Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Food for thought: Community and redemption

From The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible by Scot McKnight:

Sin is a cracked relationship of otherness with God, with self, with others, and with the world. The redemptive plan of the Bible is to restore humans into a oneness relationship with God, self, others, and the world. This otherness problem is what the gospel "fixes," and the story of the Bible is the story of God's people struggling with otherness and searching for oneness.
. . .

It is right to see the plot move from creation and fall to redemption, but how God chooses to redeem is a giant (three hundred pound!) parakeet in the Bible for many readers. The story of the Bible is creation, fall and then covenant community--page after page of community--as the context in which our wonderful redemption takes place.

If reading the Bible as Story teaches us one thing, it teaches us that it is the otherness with others that most concerns God. Otherness of the self and God is the assumption, but otherness with others is the focus of the Story. We in the Western world are obsessed with our individual relationship with God, which leads us to read the Bible as morsels of blessings and promise and as a Rorschach inkblot. But reading the Bible as Story opens up a need so deep we sometimes aren't aware we need it: oneness with others. . . .

This covenanted community, which focuses on oneness with others, will shape the rest of the Bible. God's idea of redemption is community shaped. Oneness cannot be achieved just between God and self; rather oneness involves God, self, and others, and the world around us. . . .

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