Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pondering Palin: Beware of Icy Jesus!

The pastor of the church where I came of age used to tell a story about his days in seminary. He was madly taking notes as a fresh pup in an entry-level seminary theology class... and he heard his professor give a stern warning. Not knowing one of the terms he used, but knowing it was very important, he wrote down, "Beware of Icy Jesus!" It took him a few class sessions to realize that Icy Jesus was actually eisegesis, and means "reading into the text".

Essentially, it refers to taking your pre-conceived notions to the Scriptures and looking for proof texts for whatever it is you're trying to say.

Which, over the last few days, is what I've seen a lot of articles do that are debating about whether or not Sarah Palin's nomination as VP is biblical.

  • Articles that point to worship rules in the NT as a reason why her candidacy is unbiblical
  • Those who point to Jethro's (a pagan high priest of Midian) advice to Moses about how to get everything done as God's advice on governmental service, and offer it as an example of why men only can serve in civil capacities
  • Some who point to scriptural texts about marriage, extending the idea of a wife submitting to her own husband as a reason why she can't ever have authority in any capacity outside of the home
I am also very aware that my degree (in political science), my pre-kids line of work (government relations), and my very upbringing in a post-feminism society may be skewing my view on Scripture. As best I can, I want to read what God says about this through the Scriptures.

I have a lot of questions, and a lot of things I'm considering. I have a lot of thoughts scrambling around in my head, and I see some around me who seem to have come to some very hard and fast conclusions (admittedly, many of them have considered these things and come to their conclusions long before this last weekend). I am not there. Even aside from this Palin nomination, I need to get this sort of thing clear in my head. I have half a dozen real life situations where this same issue is at play, and I want to hear from God on this.

Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps his mouth shut. So, that's where I'm at... hoping that I'll keep my mouth shut and not say something that is either overly legalistic or overly relativistic, and instead will just stick. to. the. Bible. No more, no less. I don't have enough coherent and firm thoughts about this to write with any degree of certainty... and I'm about to do some traveling, so I won't have time to write more about this for a while. But since many of you have asked, that's where I'm at on this.

All I know is, I'm wary of "Icy Jesus"!


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