November 11, 2008

Just Say No to Scripture

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:21 pm by Rev. Thomas Perchlik

Yesterday’s sermon used the story of the “Three Goats Gruff” to talk about facing change in life begining with these words:

I once was asked if my church “believed in the Bible.” I gave my standard answer which was, “sort of.”  Then, since I could guess what this person wanted to hear, I clarified, “We find much of power in the Bible but we certainly don’t believe that it is the direct word of the creator of the universe.” This person looked suprised and asked incredulously, “Then what do you preach on every Sunday?” At that time I said something about universal truths and how to live well, but this person wanted to know what texts I used; what sacred words served as the seeds of my sermons? Well, brothers and sisters, today we draw from the most ancient of texts, the sacred book of folk-tales; specifically I preach from the Gospel of the Goats, chapters one through three. What the goats tell us is that to cross some bridges of life is difficult, and so we need the courage ans wisdom that comes from being part of a community of differing strengths.

Often in our services, during announcement time, we will say “ours is a literate faith, and thus we expect you to read the announcements printed in our order of serivce.”   It is a little joke that gives the Worship Associate permission to not read every little thing in the bulletin, yet the fact remains that we are a very literate faith.  We expect our people not only to read church bulletins and newsletters but newspapers, ancient literature, modern literature, blogs and books, not to mention the scriptures of every faith.  In a sense anything can serve as our “scripture” but in a more serious mode we claim only the Bible and perhaps the Tanakh, the Bhagavad Gita and a few Buddhist Sutras, and the poetry of Mary Oliver; or perhaps we really have no scripture at all.

One of our forbears spoke of our scripture as the truth that is written on the heart of every human soul.  I know that some of us claim one book or written work as more valuable, more inspiring than all others, but it is different for every person.

As a covenental faith our scripture is really our covenants, and the promises that we keep.  Perhaps the greatest source of unquestioned truth is found in the stories we tell of our forbears, those who inspire our actions and guide our commitments.

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