He said…, “What is the kingdom of God like?” Luke 13:18
At the two-year college where I worked, one course offered was called “The Bible As Literature.” Teaching “religion” was not part of this public college’s mission. The description for “The Bible As Literature” read: “intended for all students…will analyze and explore Biblical Literature…may include Old Testament literature that demonstrates the genres of short story, biography, tragedy, philosophy, and epic narratives.” Might the course also include New Testament literature? Also noted: “the course does not study theology or doctrine but…focuses on events, characters and literary techniques.” I wondered if there was ever discussion of “theology” or “doctrine.” Or could a student even express that the Word is actually…alive! And did the Holy Spirit show up? Well, of course He did, because He is always there—indeed the Trinity is always present, indwelling, creating, sustaining and growing within each of us, whether we choose to see it or not.
Separation of church and state is important to ensure equal consideration for all faiths, backgrounds and ethnicity. As a Christian, I fear I would find “The Bible As Literature” slightly underwhelming. Part of the excitement for me in studying Scripture is the way in which God’s Word speaks to me differently every time I open the Book. I can read and study the same passages—Old or New Testament—over and over, but each time, someone or something will show me another way to interpret the words, another way to apply them to my ever-evolving walk with Christ. God’s Word certainly does include “short story, biography, tragedy (lots of tragedy!), philosophy and epic narratives.” And the “events, characters and literary techniques” used to convey God’s message are always intriguing. But for me, it is my faith (my “theology,” as it were) that not only motivates me to dig deeper but sustains me in my quest to learn more from God’s Word.
Jesus often said, “The kingdom is God is like….” He intentionally used metaphor, simile, story and symbol to explain Himself. How we interpret Scripture has to do with where we are in our faith. But what cannot be denied is that Christ’s power is present in any study of God’s Word, whether in a public institution of higher learning or a church or our homes.
We thank You, Lord, that Your Word is taught in many ways. Amen
Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com MegCorrigan@comcast.net