Archives For Scripture

I saw the new Noah film with my wife yesterday. It ain’t your grandpappy’s flannelgraph Noah. Sure, there’s an ark; there’s just no “arky, arky” here. This is no cutesy kid-friendly Sunday school lesson (complete with crafts).

Before I continue, please go grab your Bible, and read the story of Noah as it appears there.

Done already? That was fast.

The savvy among you will know where I’m going with this: the account of Noah as it appears in canon can be read in 5-10 minutes. While the specifics are indeed there, it’s as notable for what it leaves our as for what it includes. What did people eat on the ark? We don’t know. Did they get tired of one another?  Bored? What provisions did Noah and his family bring for the animals? What did they do with all the dung? (I’m not the latest movie answers these questions, per se).

The point is: Scripture doesn’t tell us. So the filmmakers turned to extrabiblical sources to fill in those gaps. The film’s director, and co-writer, Darren Aronofsky, calls the movie a midrash. Midrash is a time-honored rabbinical tradition of filling in the gaps in a text. It’s a very Jewish thing. And it’s both surprising, and sad, that my fellow Christians don’t understand this. That we–collectively–don’t grok the Jewish roots of our faith. It’s like we’re ashamed of the imaginations God gave us…

So the movie is midrash, and incorporates material from such sources as the Book of Enoch. A deuterocanonical book, it is nevertheless quoted in the New Testament (the Book of Jude ring any bells?)–demonstrating that the very men God used to compose canon were familiar enough with this work to quote from it. Put another way, they considered at least portions of it to be authoritative enough to include in their epistles.

Again, because of our lack of familiarity with Judaism, and other works, there’s a hue and cry about what the filmmakers have done to Noah. While the fact is they’ve done nothing to him. He just the same as he’s ever been. If don’t care for this particular cinematic interpretation, which includes much wrestling with:

Sin

Justice,  and

Mercy

I’d recommend they go dust off that leather-bound tome on their bookshelves, exercise their rights as Bereans, and discover for themselves that nothing has changed in those pages.

There’s nothing to get upset over, folks. It’s a tempest in a teapot:

Scripture has not, and cannot be, changed.

If you don’t like it, don’t see it. As for myself, I thought it was a worthy effort. Still, it ain’t your grandpappy’s flannelgraph Noah. If you can deal with that, good; if not, read the book (don’t wait for the movie).

Thanks for reading!

Have something to say? The contents 5 are open below.

I love gay people… Even though we don’t agree.

This post wasn’t easy to write. I take very seriously the obligation to tell the truth the best I can. Yes, I know I can be flip, I can be funny, I can be insincere.

This is not one of those posts. It merely represents my attempt to wrap my mind around some serious, and delicate, issues. And before I get to the post proper, allow me to lay my cards out on the table: I have my convictions, you have yours; we may not see eye-to-eye. That’s okay.

I’m not here to win you to my point of view; if anything, I would love to win you to Christ. (And then let Him–not me–work out your salvation with Him with “fear and trembling”).

That said, I’m going to take heat for this; be called intolerant, unloving, perhaps bigoted. I’m a big boy: I can take it. I’m not here to win any popularity contests.

I believe certain things, and those beliefs are informed by the Bible. I believe that God loves everybody equally–He is no respecter of persons. I am not a Calvinist; I believe everyone has an equal shot at salvation.

We are all sinners. Thus, regardless of the consequences of that sin, we are equal in that regard. Whether gay, straight, black, white, whatever: we all stand equal in our need for God.

That said, (and forgive me for seemingly singling out a particular people group) something I’ve always wondered about, something I’ve wrestled with, is the example of scripture. I’m not here to proof-text, or cherry-pick verses, in support of a position.

No; what I’m after is the bigger picture: when considered from end-to-end, where in the Bible do we see God’s depiction of the “happy homosexual home?” Where is His command to two men, or two women, to be “fruitful and multiply” (which from context we know does not mean adoption)?

This issue is foundational to me: if I subscribe at all to the Reformation tenet of “Sola Scriptura,” and that is what informs my convictions, then what place do I give my feelings? If I believe that all Scripture is God-breathed, what is the consequence? In my mind, this means that I will come down on the side of holiness–instead of happiness.

There is a dangerous, slippery, slope in the line of reasoning that goes thus: I have these feelings, and I know that God loves me, and just wants me to be happy. Really? Is this the same God who showed Paul how much he must suffer for my (God’s) name? The same one Who, through Peter, says “after you shall have suffered?”

Yes, there are both joys, and sorrows, on the path of life, but I don’t believe that the path He bids me trod is the one of least resistance. Of His purposes, one is to make me into a creature suitable to be in His presence for all eternity.

Please understand: it’s not my intent to “gay bash.” The questions above are sincere questions. (Note: I’m not here to debate the issue of marriage, or the rights of individuals in a pluralistic society). The simple fact of the matter is this: because God loves gay people, I love gay people. But I do not believe it is unloving to say that I understand the Scriptures differently than the prevailing, vocal, culture.

I am called to be in the world, but not of it.

Furthermore, my understanding of Scripture is such that I believe that it (and this is a mystery) takes both genders to even begin to (attempt to) represent His image–else why did He create them male and female? (Interestingly, one of the meanings of “El Shaddai” is “many-breasted one”).

For the sake of argument (realizing there are exceptions), let’s say that women are “pink,” and men are “blue.” What do we get when we mix those two colors? Purple–the color of royalty. The color of Jesus.

Somehow, in His economy, the two become one flesh. I don’t understand this, but I accept it. Yet nowhere in holy writ do we see this description applied to same-gendered relationships. Why is this? Did God not know what He was saying? Did He not know that the 21st century was coming?

Listen: go ahead, and hate me. Unsubscribe from my blog. It’s cool. Like a fine wine, I’m not for everybody. I’m trying to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. I don’t hate gay people–or any people, for that matter–and God knows I have enough trouble with my own sin. Like everybody else, I’m just trying to figure this all out. Live by the light I’ve been given.

You may hate me for my convictions; that’s fine–but I won’t hate you in return.

(Here’s a hard truth: the same God who doesn’t hate “fags,” similarly doesn’t hate Fred Phelps. What I suspect He does hate is our constant vilification of one another. I hope I have not done that here today).

That said, as I wrote above, God’s grace–His love–are available equally to all. Ultimately, how you live is between you and Him.

Augustine said “Love God, and do as you will.”

Anyway, what do you think? How do you approach this delicate issue?