Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Happy International Day of Reason

While the superstitious offer their supplications to the god of empire, some of us are celebrating International Day of Reason. My goal for today is to come up with one rational thought. The odds are against me.

Today is a good day to plug the next book we are reading for our Thursday study group.

When Faith Meets Reason is a publication of the Jesus Seminar. It contains thirteen essays from religious scholars who strip down and bare their souls. Scholars gone wild.

Here is the blurb:

What happens to faith when the creeds and confessions can no longer be squared with historical and empirical evidence? Most critical scholars have wrestled with this question. Some have found ways to reconcile their personal religious belief with the scholarship they practice. Others have chosen to reconstruct their view of religious meaning in light of what they have learned. But most have tended not to share those views in a public forum. And that brings up a second question: at what point does the discrepancy between what I know, or think I know, and what I am willing to say publicly become so acute that my personal integrity is at stake? Being honest about what one thinks has always mattered in critical scholarship. In the pages of When Faith Meets Reason, thirteen scholars take up the challenge to speak candidly about how they negotiate the conflicting claims of faith and reason, in hopes that their journeys will inspire others to engage in their own search for meaning.
Scholars (like clergy, who are in fact the teachers of clergy) do know how to dissemble. Try to get a straight answer to questions like,
  • Did Jesus rise from the dead?
  • Is there really a supernatural being that interferes with the universe?
and see how much creative nonsense you have to sift through and still never get an answer. My answers to the above questions are no and no by the way. What other answer is possibly reasonable? That said we can talk about what "resurrection" and "God" mean or what they might symbolize.

Rarely are clergy or scholars forthcoming about what they really believe. This book is therefore refreshing. It comes with its own study guide. Recommend it to your favorite minister and ask her or him lead a study with it.

Or if you are anywhere near our mountain stream join us Thursdays from 10:30 until noon. We still start with the first essay on Thursday May 27th.

May reason be with you.