I started the “Letters to the Next Creation” project for a few reasons.
One is that I had (have) been coming to appreciate the meaning that biblical writings had for their original audience. Getting into these meanings is an imprecise process that is heavily historical and, to borrow a metaphor Doug Moo shared at Park Woods, rearranges a number of the puzzle pieces. I had a personal need to get this stuff out of my head and somewhere where I could work with it and wander down thought paths and see where it took me.
Another reason is that I have found so much more power and impact in my reading of the Scriptures by incorporating this perspective that I wanted to share it and make it bigger. This is especially true because, outside the realm of biblical scholarship, you don’t hear a lot about this stuff. I wanted to try to bridge the gap I perceived. That gap separates us from the original world of the text, and that gap also separates that knowledge from our own stories, meanings, and applications.
So, I thought a good way to combine these various purposes to be to try to make a quasi-devotional and put it up so that, not only could I work through these things for myself, but other people might find it useful as well. Not that my insights are any great shakes, but it might provoke thought in areas that we don’t always think about when we read our Bibles. It’s one of the reasons this blog is anonymous to the outside world and doesn’t allow comments. Who I am and what I think are just not that important, but the material is out there, and if it edifies anyone in any way, that’s great.
To help me, I told a small number of people in my life who share similar interests and know me well enough not to write up my mistakes as deliberate heresies (although unintentional heresy is always a possibility) or understand my thoughts at the time I wrote them as bedrock commitments I would go to the stake for. These people share their feedback with me and, in fact, may be the only people who ever read this post. So, thanks guys.
Recently, one of them pointed out that, in my zeal for sharing, I have been confrontational perhaps where I did not mean to be. My tone had gone beyond the point of sharing my thoughts to basically condemning any other thoughts as wrong. He cited specific examples, and I have to agree.
So, first, let me repent for things that I’ve written in the past that sounded like I was trying to pick a fight or condemning out of hand traditional views. That is not the way anyone in the kingdom of God should deal with others, nor is it an accurate reflection of what I actually think. I don’t think everyone is wrong but me, and in fact, the opposite is quite likely true in many cases.
But whenever a brother or sister points these things out, I believe the proper response is not to wallow in it, but to use it as an opportunity to make things right and do better in the future. So, to that end, I’ve gone back through previous posts and tried to sand off the rough edges. I still want to say what I think, but I don’t need to invite conflict. Rather than go after “false views,” I just want to share what’s on my mind and heart and leave it to the reader to decide what’s worth keeping and what’s worth rejecting, both in the things I say and the possible implications they might have for our traditional defaults. You may want to review some of those posts to see what they sound like when I’m less of a jerk.
Also, to help with the aspect of making thoughtful connections, I’ve added a “Consider This” section to each post with some questions to spur your thinking on the reading.
I’ve slowed the output of posts so I could catch up with doing some of these things, and they are done, so I should be back to near-daily production soon. Thanks for staying with it.