Agenda-driven vs. God-driven

Book Review: “What Do We Do With The Bible?” Richard Rohr (SPCK 2019)

What do we do with the Bible? Does this ancient, sometimes violent, and contradictory, text have anything to teach us today? Selective use of Scripture — by preachers and politicians alike – has been employed to justify violence, racism, misogyny, homophobia … the list goes on. Rohr points out that the papacy kept interpretation of the scriptures in the hands of the Roman clergy — this kept them falsely empowered. Rohr writes that reading the Bible in a non-contemplated way does not help us touch reality, but instead creates self-serving ideologies.

Rohr writes, “We must somehow both give authority to the text [faith] and not let that authority get in the way of good critical thinking.” He also writes,” The Bible does not demand academic scholarship, but it is indeed dangerous in the minds of unbalanced or agenda-driven people.”

The author points out that Jesus does not actually quote the scripture that much — he reads between the lines and speaks in metaphor, simile, story, and symbol, and that we do not give him that freedom and therefore miss out many of his major messages. Jesus played the Hebrew Bible light and easy, and was anything but a fundamentalist or a legalist. Rohr points out that we have made Jesus into an exclusive child of God, rather than an exclusive model for all of us.

Reviewed by Deacon Rob Roi