John Martin spoke today about reclaiming the bible from the Neo-Literalists.  John started off with 1 Corinthians 13:11 saying When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  He noticed that Bullfinches Mythology contained stories that were very similar to bible stories.  When he asked about the similarity, he was told not to question the word of god.  Scripture is not allegorical.  Worshiping with the people of the  Baha’i faith he found that many of the worlds faiths had similar tenants.   Yet each claimed that they possessed the knowledge of the true path to god.  Doubts are always discouraged.

After he found the Unitarians, John decided that it was now safe to attend seminary.  He discovered that the gospels are a result of years of oral tradition before being written down.  No one can say how many authors each gospel has had.  Even the 10 Commandments seem to have been a derivative of the language found in an Assyrian agreement with the Jews.

Those that see the bible as a struggle between the belief that it is written as infallible truth on the one hand or irrational nonsense on the other are falling into a linguistic trap.  It is a fallacy to think that the bible must be taken literally to be important.  It does not fail to be important because some of it may not have happened just as it said happened.  God does not fail to be omniscient because his bible scholars got their facts or memories wrong.  This is a child’s way of considering the importance of the bible.

We need to move beyond this literal interpretation to find the core truth.  The bible is great literature, and we lose much of its richness by surrendering to those who claim that they know the only way to interpret what was was written.  The stories also tell us about ourselves, or search for freedom and our search for dignity.  We should challenge these interpreters who try to say that they alone know the text means.

It is your turn to interpret the meaning of these words.  If the literal interpretation is childlike, then it stand to reason that the new interpretation is the adult way of approaching the problem.

No one sees the whole truth.  The underlying  message is that “Love is god and god is Love.”

With recognizable sadness the congregation said farewell to Shirley this week.  Our friend, Shirley Jean den Broeder, 75, passed away on Thursday, March 3, 2011. She was born January 11, 1936 in Newark, Ohio to the late Murrell and Ruth (Robison) Orr. Survived by a son, Jody den Broeder. Donations in her memory may be made to Columbus Metro Parks, 1069 West Main St Westerville, OH 43081.

Announcements:  Three Cranes Grove, ADF, would like to invite you to celebrate the Spring Equinox on Sunday, March 20th at the Northern Shelter at Highbanks Metropark.  This will be mid-day ritual, with social time at 12:00 PM and our ritual at 1 PM. We will have our usual potluck following the rite, so please bring a dish to share! This rite is indoors, but the shelter is not heated. Please dress for the weather.