Saturday, January 4, 2014

Saving Jesus redux.... a review and insights

I grew up in a traditional mainline denominational church and was  taught Sunday after Sunday the main message of the bible, the fall, the redemption/salvation story, and pretty much took it at face value as a child and young adult.  Although at times I had questions or some concerns about things that quite didn't add up, I didn't even realize you could ask the questions because I thought that would equate to disbelief and I would go directly to Hell....not collect $200.

In my early 30s I really began a spiritual quest and started asking the questions of others who would listen and be willing to dialogue.  In this heavily Baptist dominated region of the world, I have been met with resistance and challenges, and even a few names hurled my direction to dare even to question the "inerrancy of the bible" aka God's definitive word on everything.  But on this quest I have found others who share the same questions.  And its not folks trying to disprove the bible or God, but legitimate people who are trying to dig deeper into something that calls us to a deeper understanding .... and I like to think Jesus would approve.

So, enter Living The Questions.  Its a dialogue about the questions many of us have regarding faith, spirituality, the bible, nature of God, historical Jesus versus church made Jesus the Christ, and on and on.  This current DVD "SAVING JESUS" is VERY GOOD in that it starts from a standpoint presenting Jesus in the light of history, culture, stories about Jesus, assumptions, the church Jesus, etc.  It is Living The Questions.  Doesn't mean it has all the answers but the dialogue is good. It is 2 DVDs in one box, each containing six 20 minute something sections from various theologians and people of faith.  Decidedly, they are on the liberal side of theology or postmodern as many refer to themselves (John Shelby Sponge, Robin Meyers, Diana Butler Bass, Brian , Marcus Borg who I swear looks is actually Obie Wan Kanobi Jedi Knight from Star Wars, etc). 

I enjoyed the first DVD 6 sections more so than the 2nd DVD as it was more intellectual dialogue about Jesus historically, culturally, teaching styles, and overall presentation.  The 2nd DVD was still good but some of the politics of the left starting seeping in.  That has always bothered me when, as in the days of the Moral Majority the religious right assumed they had the corner market on the Bible/proper theology/God and threw darts at the left, I often see similar efforts from certain areas of the postmodern left toward traditional/fundamental folks, which I don't find particularly helpful in the journey.  We are all somewhere in the journey and we should be respectful of that.

So I would highly recommend this series if you are genuinely wanting to ask, seek, and learn.  You don't have to agree with everything (I certainly had some "let me think about that statement" moments), but the conversation is worth having.  ~npp