What is Christian Literacy?

refers to the ability to use a language - to know what words means, to be able to use grammar, sentence structure, to be able to converse in that language is to be literate.

Religious literacy
means having the ability to understand and speak about our faith intelligently. It’s the ability to communicate the basic tenets of our religion.

I'm very grateful to B.U. Professor Stephen Prothero for his excellent book, "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know and Doesn't." This book, along with my desire to teach the faith, served as the inspiration for this effort.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Adam & Eve

Let me start by asking you a few questions about the Bible: Does it matter to you if there was never a real Prodigal Son and that Jesus' parable might simply be that, a story? Or how about the Good Samaritan? Does it matter that the story is factual and historical, or is the truth of the story deeper than that?

To me those parables are true whether they're "true" or not. The same is true for Adam & Eve. I used to try and harmonize them with evolution. Perhaps they're the Missing Link? Some scholars place them in the Upper Paleolithic era. Is that when we became the soul-filled humans we are today? On the other hand maybe Genesis 2 is a parable?

Genesis Chapter 1 is a poem - "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Think of the rhythm of that incredible, divinely inspired masterpiece. Many scholars believe that it had a different author than Genesis Chapter 2, which is a narrative, a story, the story of Adam & Eve. The two chapters use different names for God (Elohim, "God" in Ch. 1, Adonai, "Lord" in Ch. 2). The view common among scholars today is that the Bible gives us two creation stories. It's such a big event - the creation of the world - that one account just couldn't do it justice. Afterall it takes 4 gospels to tell us about the life of Jesus.

The problem with the historical question is it gets us off task. If you believe that Adam & Eve is historical you still have to ask, "What's the point?" And if you believe it's a parable you ask the very same question. So, what's the point?

The point is that you and I were created to walk with God. However, we are prone to wander and rebel. Yet God is always calling us back "Adam, where are you?" God knew. It was Adam who needed to be reminded. It's also a story about personal responsibility and not passing the buck. After The Fall (Adam & Eve's rebellion, eating the forbidden fruit), Eve blames the serpent ("The serpent deceived me!") and Adam blames Eve and God ("It's that woman that You gave me!").

But ultimately we're the responsible ones - responsible to ourselves, to each other and to God. And we're responsible for our own relationship with God. It's up to us. We're Adam and Eve.

How true is that?

Thought for the day: You were created to walk with God.
Question: Are you taking responsibility for that?
Prayer: Thank you, God, that you created us to have fellowship with you. Amen.

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