Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good Intentions and the Road to Hell

I went searching for an image for the "road to hell" and came across, instead, the image here of the road to the Bahgdad airport. It is certainly a hellish route made that way by the intentions -- good or ill -- of the empire and its insurgent opposition in Iraq.
My own intentions had nothing to do with such a route -- just looking for an imaginative way of saying "sorry for being dark for a while."
I don't know if a week with a board meeting, a Presbytery meeting and a newsletter deadline can be called one of "good intentions," but it has certainly overloaded a few circuits, including the virtual ones of the blog.
But the show will go on again soon. I promise. Thanks for checking back.


Anonymous said...

Of course we know the road to that particularly hot corner of hell in the photo wasn't paved with good intentions but with lies, greed and deceit.
At risk of opening the metaphoric can of worms, I want to raise an issue that has been troubling me since the Sunday after Thanksgiving. You'll recall that I read the NT lesson, which referred 2 or 3 times to "the Jews." This laugnage is, of course, typical of the Johannine books, and the dynamics of the usage are complex, historically loaded, etc. Fortunately the use of "the Jews" in the passage appointed for that Sunday were not overtly pejorative, but I was troubled by reading it with Marty and Karen sitting right in front of me.
We're accustomed, for example, to making small changes in scriptural readings to accommodate our feminist consciousness by changing masculine pronouns that refer to God to nouns, and I wonder if there is some appropriate way to alter or omit negative references to "the Jews" without violating the integrity of the scriptures.
Granted that even the act of reading a scripture during worship involves hermeneutical choices, including matters of tone, speed, cadence, volume and so on, is it appropriate to "edit out" or alter something like the Johannine carping on "the Jews" to further the inclusiveness and diversity of our worship and proclamation? I believe that it is, but think it's a tricky enough issue that airing it seems worthwhile.
For another example, would we read some of the stinkier parts of Deuteronomy or Paul's peculiar rant in Romans 1, without correcting the notion that the Fred Phelpses of the world are right? Of course not. So what's our best choice with respect to negative references to "the Jews"?

Anonymous said...

John G, that's a great question. It seems that perhaps the first step comes in regular reminders of the Johanine context, but I do wonder how one might may the text more inclusive with respect to the "religious other" -- especially as the Jesus movement itself turned on questions of otherness. Other thoughts?