Friday, July 24, 2009

Buzzwords episode 1: "Context"

Today's word: Context

Im not making this long and drawn out, because i'm actually looking more for some feedback from you all, the readers. For those of you who are of faith (or are an Athiest with an opinion) how should we as believers deal with context in the reading/interpretation/application of Scripture? For instance, the Bible claims that women should never Pastor men, etc. though those of us who are more progressive find the reasoning to be a little archaic and not applicable.Paul, in 1 Tim. 2:12, states, "I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man" (NIV) Many denominations still use this as a reason to subjugate Women, including my own, the Seventh Day Adventist church. Paul also makes claims that Christians should eat unclean meats under certain circumstances, etc.1 Corinthians 10:23-26 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26for, "The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." I find it interesting that a large percentage of the Levitical Law is overlooked and quietly brushed aside by us, the "modern" Christian, yet certain Scriptures which perfectly meet our agendas/built in beliefs are held out as bedrock Principals that must never change. Unique to my faith is a lady named Ellen White who many believe was a Prophetess sent to the Church in the last days. Her numerous writings are sometimes used to serve whatever purpose, good or bad, that the reader so chooses. One in particular is the attending of the Movie theater, namely, that a good Christian should avoid it. "Among the most dangerous resorts for pleasure is the theater." (Messages to Young People, p. 380) "To those who plead for these diversions, we answer, We cannot indulge in them in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. The blessing of God would not be invoked upon the hour spent at the theater or in the dance. No Christian would wish to meet death in such a place. No one would wish to be found there when Christ shall come." (Messages to Young People, p. 398) Now anyone who actually takes the time to look into history even for 10 minutes will see that her (EG White's) guidelines were directly predicated on how bad and immoral a place the movie houses of the late 1800s and early 1900s were. One could find smoking, drinking, abuse of narcotics, and prostitution on a regular basis, not the theaters we have today, where you can attend a G rated movie and not even see an Ad for illicit behavior of any kind. Now for the progressives in the faith, this is a no brainer as to how to proceed in these days when it comes to watching movies. Considering anything you can see in the movies and worse can be found on your home computer or tv, coupled with the notable changes to the environment inside a movie theater compared to Mrs. White's day, one can make the statement that the principle of what mrs. White states, "guarding the avenues of your mind" and not the literal "don't go to movie theaters" should be applied here. Yet a sizable amount of believers in the SDA faith choose to stick to Mrs. White's literal instructions. So my question again: how do we as believers deal with context in the Bible, and specifically for those who read and follow extra-Biblical sources, how do you deal with context? Or a more telling question, DO you deal with context? Or are you a literal reader and believer of the Scriptures? PLEASE comment and further this discussion, I am extremely interested to here what you think.

No comments: