Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Recovering Our Stories

I just finished The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do? by Robert W. Funk and the Jesus Seminar. I think the final paragraph says it all:

Redeeming the myths

The Fellows of the Jesus Seminar are profoundly cognizant that human beings do not live by the bread of facts alone. We live by our stories - by our myths, which is only a fancy word for story - and these fictions are supposed to make sense out of a complex universe of meaning mixed with nonsense. Myths are not true or untrue; as one Fellow puts it, they are either living or dead. Literalism in biblical interpretation in tandem with scientism has helped strangle the myths of the Christian tradition. Historical criticism like that practiced by the Jesus Seminar is intended to release the gospel stories from their literalistic burden. Exposing them to historical assessment relocates them in the realm of story and myth, so they can recover their proper function. When we move them back within that perspective, perhaps new mythmakers and storytellers will once again find voice to celebrate the simple yet enduring story of Jesus of Nazareth.
The Fellows of the Jesus Seminar are, as one would expect, widely regarded in Christian circles as heretics. None have yet been burned at the stake, but it's not from want of desire on the part of evangelicals in particular. It's all about power, of course. Groups like the Jesus Seminar liberate believers from the institutional church, which, in the view of leaders of the institutional church, is a sin more serious than blasphemy.

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