I wasn’t going to blog again before leaving on my trip but I just finished another challenging read last night. Bob Ekblad, a PhD in Old Testament, leads Bible studies in prison and with Latino migrants from Mexico and Central America and he writes a book about his experiences, with practical advice about how to lead Bible studies with those we generally damn. Along with this are challenges to us in the powerful middle class about how we read the Bible with certain lenses on.
In fact, the Bible was primarily written for “the damned.” The Old Testament was written for an oppressed nomadic minority group. Jesus concerned himself primarily with social outcasts, reserving his barbs for the conservative religious establishment. Paul had a call to the despised Gentiles! We too often read the Bible from the perspective of the privileged and so we concern ourselves with the formulation of cute doctrines and dogmas rather than allowing the Bible to facilitate God’s radical transformation in our lives.
I read the book in preparation for a “workshop” I am doing at the Mennonite Church Canada assembly in Vancouver this summer. The “workshop” is called “Word on the Street.” [Yes, I do refer to the Bible as the word of God 🙂 but my point in an earlier blog still stands. In fact sometimes we may reduce the effectiveness of the Bible for transformation by idolizing it.] It is really more of an urban hiking experience than a workshop. We will read the Bible in various public places around the city, inviting others to hear as well. Preparation has already been transformative for me so hopefully the experience will also be for participants.