Lesslie Newbigin, who as a young man was a Christian missionary to India, wrote:
Many years ago a Hindu friend of mine, a very learned man, said to me something I have never forgotten: "I can't understand why you missionaries present the Bible to us in India as a book of religion. It is not a book of religion - and anyway we have plenty of books of religion in India. We don't need any more!
I find in your Bible a unique interpretation of universal history, the history of the whole of creation and the history of the human race. And therefore a unique interpretation of the human person as a responsible actor in history. That is unique. There is nothing else in the whole religious literature of the world to put alongside it." (A Walk Through the Bible, 4).
The Bible is a story. Or, more accurately, it's an epic saga. But the way Christians sometimes treat it, you might never know that. We read short snippets. We look for aphorisms to quote at each other. We use it as a book of rules for right living or a philosophy textbook. But every wise saying of Christian Scripture has it setting in a plot line. Every rule recorded was made for a community in a place and time. Every bit of philosophy and theology is derived from the interactions between God and his world. In other words, all that other stuff finds its place in the spacious story that unfolds from Genesis to Revelation.
That's why this summer at Oakland Communion we are going to take a walk (okay, kind of a jog) through the story of Scripture, and see how the all too human characters, the sweeping themes, and the heroism of God help us understand this world, our lives, and our purpose in the plot line. We'd love for you to JOIN US on the journey.