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Aug
16
2015

Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses

Last week, I began a three-part seminar on hermeneutics, an introduction to biblical interpretation. Part One of the seminar was entitled, "The Bible is Alien to Us," and introduced participants to the translation process and comparing English translation approaches, introducing participants to the historical and cultural context of the Bible (i.e. the ancient Near East), and introducting participants to some of the literary elements of scripture (e.g. genre, metaphor, idiom, and myth).

This week, I taught Part Two, entitled: "We Read the Bible Through Lenses," and introduced participants to Social Location and to a "Community Hermeneutic."

For PDF versions of the manuscript and slides, see my Academia.edu account:

Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses (Manuscript)
Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses (Slides)

Enjoy!

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Aug
11
2015

Hermeneutics 101, Part One: The Bible is Alien to Us

This week, I began a three-part seminar on hermeneutics, an introduction to biblical interptation. Part one of the seminar is entitled, "The Bible is Alien to Us," and has three parts: 1) Introducing participants to the translation process and comparing English translation approaches; 2) Introducing participants to the historical and cultural context of the Bible (i.e. the ancient Near East); 3) Introducting participants to some of the literary elements of scripture (e.g. genre, metaphor, idiom, and myth).

For PDF versions of the manuscript and slides, see my Academia.edu account:

  1. Hermeneutics 101, Part One: The Bible is Alien to Us (Manuscript)
  2. Hermeneutics 101, Part One: The Bible is Alien to Us (Slides)

Enjoy!

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Jul
27
2015

The Bible is Not a Database: 
A Brief Reflection on Biblical Interpretation 
in the Digital Age

A few years back, I misplaced something. Instead of thinking, “Where did I last see it?” I unconsciously thought, “I’ll just run a Spotlight search for it” ...as if every item in my house (and presumably the rest of my life) was indexed in Mac OS X.

That was the moment I realized using computers had literally changed the way I think.

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Dec
21
2014

10 Books I'm Reviewing in 2015

One of the best things about being a blogger is reviewing books. And if enough people visit your blog, authors and publishers will send you books to review! This is particularly great when the books that I'm sent are books I'm excited to read. The next crop of books I'm reading to review might be my best yet. So here are 10 books I'm reading (or have already read) to review in 2015:

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Oct
13
2014

The Bible Project: A Beautiful and Powerful New Resource for the Church

Sometimes I wish there was a way to quickly encapsulate vast biblical themes (or summarize entire books of the Bible) in a thorough and creative way. The Bible Project is about as close to that as I've seen.

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Apr
23
2014

Justo González and the Politics of Impassibility, Part 1

Doing Theology in Spanish

Theology has everyday implications for life. Christian faith is more than just the abstract ideas one holds in one’s head; faith is the lived reality one embodies in the world. In fact, in parts of the world today, theology remains a matter of life and death, the difference between privilege and oppression. 


Few are better than Justo González at connecting the dots between what a person thinks about God and Christ, and how a person lives as a result. In his book Mañana: Christian Theology from a Hispanic Perspective, González starts by confronting the myth of objectivity. He knows that every human being who explores the mystery of God, and every person who reads the Bible, has a context and a culture that impact their perspective. He himself is no exception.

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Apr
13
2014

Messiahs, "Success," and the Way of Jesus: A Palm Sunday Sermon

Text: Matthew 21.1-11

Success is the most important thing in life, and failure is to be avoided at all cost.

That’s the message I hear when I listen closely to the world around me. Success is celebrated; failure is mocked. Success means: you matter; failure means: you don’t.

I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, five minutes from Harvard and ten or fifteen minutes from MIT. For a lot of people, just getting here is a success in itself. For others, getting here is only part of the journey to success. Not everyone completes their journey; some journeys end here. Here is where success and failure often hang in the balance.

How do You define “success”?

If you’re smart, what does “success” look like for you?
If you’re attractive, outgoing, what does “success” look like for you?
If you come from a wealthy family, what does “success” look like for you?
If you come from a poor family, what does “success” look for you?
If you’re spiritual, devout, what does “success” look like for you?
Whatever your background or current situation, ask yourself: What does “success” look like for me?

When I became a Christian at close to 17 years old, I discovered theology and fell in love. I read every theology book on I could get my hands on. I devoured them, because I wanted to know everything about God, the Bible, Christianity. Before I’d even left for Bible college, I made a goal for myself. I wanted to have a PhD in theology by 33. (It rhymes, so it’s gotta be God’s will, right?!)

I’ll be 32 next week, and I’m still working on a Masters degree with no plans to apply to PhD programs anytime soon! So, I could look at that and see failure—if that’s how I measure success. But another thing I have to ask myself is: Is that God’s definition of “success”, or mine?

What is God’s definition of “success” for you?

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Feb
26
2014

ECC Perspectives on Salvation: Shalom, Justification, and Breathing Kingdom Air

For Covenanters, any study of salvation must begin with the Scriptures. We ask, “What does the Bible say?” (which is a version of the Covenant axiom “Where is it written?” that discourages proof-texting). This means that regardless of tradition, informed and skillful interpretation of Scripture will be the final arbiter of our soteriology. Covenanters also engage with the best scholarly thinking available to us, both past and present. Therefore, Covenanters gladly stand within the Reformation tradition of ‘justification by grace through faith,’ while also making space for contemporary perspectives on justification. We want to be Reformed, and always reforming! The Covenant’s perspective on salvation is colored not only by its historical roots in the Reformation, but also in the Pietist renewal movement which sought to further reform Protestantism and also to recover the living faith of the Early Church. So in the Covenant’s own history there is precedent for an on-going process of reformation toward greater and greater spiritual renewal.

The Scriptural Story: Salvation as Shalom-establishing

Beginning with Scripture, we find that salvation is rescue. In this sense, it implies the overcoming of danger, a conflict, or an enemy. But it is also the state of being free, whole, and safe from harm. For humanity, this state can only be achieved when we are joined with our Creator. Therefore, salvation is both being saved from something and saved to Someone. Scripture’s witness to salvation is displayed in the progressively-unfolding story of God’s action in the world in relationship to God’s creation, and to humanity in particular. The story which Scripture tells again and again is: 1) God forms a people; 2) God provides that people with a home; 3) God gives that people a purpose and/or mission. Then danger, conflict, an enemy emerge and threaten the people, the home, and the purpose God has created. In love, God rescues God’s people by repeating the process: forming again, providing again, purposing again. In a very real sense, biblical salvation is New Creation!

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Feb
25
2014

"Son of God" Movie: Part Brilliant, Part Failure

If you're not aware, the new "Son of God" movie opening in theaters on Friday is directly from the miniseries called "The Bible" which debuted on the History Channel back in March of last year. I watched the entire miniseries and was a vocal critic of many of the producers' choices—especially regarding ethnicity and racial stereotypes.

But their New Testament episodes weren't nearly as terrible as their Old Testament episodes. In fact, there was quite a bit worthy of celebration. So, here I'd like to re-post both the: 1) Brilliant Aspects as well as the; 2) Missed Opportunities

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Feb
05
2014

Take the Bible More Seriously Than Ken Ham: Interpretation Matters

Since I'm a member of the Christian blogosphere (albeit begrudgingly), this is my nearly obligatory two cents on the Ham v. Nye debate. However, I'm not going to rehearse the debate in any real detail nor attempt to persuade you of my view on the relationship between faith and science. If you care what my view is, suffice to say you can count me among the BioLogos tribe. And I would encourage you to read their take on the debate. You can also read my review of John Walton's book The Lost World of Genesis One to find out more.

In this brief note, I only want to make a simple point: 'Taking the Bible seriously' (as Fundamentalist Christians are prone to call their pseudo-scientific literalism) isn't and doesn't. In other words, the imposing of an anachronistic interpretative grid upon the text of Scripture is incompatible with the claim to take the Bible "seriously." The only way to take the Bible "seriously" is to the take the Bible on the Bible's terms, not our own.

Every person who reads the Bible, interprets the Bible.

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Welcome to TheologicalGraffiti.com

Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

Shalom,
T. C.

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