Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I've been preparing to give a talk to a denominational group on the subject of-- hold on to your hats, sports fans-- Revelation! The book, not the dance. (Singular, not plural).
Of course, you know I've read it before. I read it... well, I didn't read it in seminary, actually. I read it... well, I didn't actually read it in my first theology MA program either. Hmmm.
Well, I can tell you for SURE I read it (partially) in middle school, when I (briefly) attended a bible study at my parish.
And I can tell you for SURE SURE that I read the whole kit and kaboodle, from stem to stern, in 2005-- that's the year I got my One Year Bible (TM), and did that thing. (So, I read it in December.)
But lately, I've read it-- all in one go, over the span of the last two days, with the help of a study guide. I've just finished, actually.
I'm blown away. Part of what has blown me away is my embrace of the interpretive scheme of the study guide, to be sure. It is most assuredly not a dispensationalist/rapturist/pro-Armageddon reading (unlike that of the current L3ft B3hind craze). It is a feminist (in the sense that we take note of the disturbing imagery regarding women, as well as how it has been used historically) and Reformed (in that it correctly uses scripture to interpret scripture, according to the best of our tradition). And it is environmentalist (in that it takes note of God's strong words for those who destroy the earth, and the role the earth/ river of life/ tree of life has in the restored New Jerusalem).
I sat there for a few minutes after I'd finished reading with my heart racing.
I think I've had a conversion experience. I've been converted to loving this crazy, problematic book of which Luther said, "My spirit cannot fit itself into this book." I find, my spirit can. And I'm blown away.
It's a revelation.