Greg Boyd Launches a Critique of
the New American Patriot’s Bible
The Patriot’s Bible opens with several prefaces, one of which is an essay entitled A Call To Action. Here the contributors sound the alarm that “[o]ur freedom to serve God and to promote the gospel in our land is disintegrating.” No evidence is given in support of this alarming claim, but fighting this alleged encroaching loss of freedom is one of the reasons this Bible was published. To this end, Christians are encouraged to persevere like George Washington (who elsewhere is referred to as the “American Moses”). Washington, we are told, lost most of his early battles in the Revolutionary War, but through perseverance he ultimately defeated his foes. Consequently, we American’s “won our independence from the British and became a free people.” And then the contributors to the Patriot’s Bible add, “Our Lord taught us that when we put our hands to the plow of a righteous cause, we are never to look back, but to persevere and prevail” (Luke 9:62).
This is most certainly not what our Lord taught us in this passage. In the context for this verse, Jesus repeatedly emphasized the need for people to forgo normal social conventions if they wished to become his disciple (vss 56-62). All of this followed right on the heals of Jesus’ rebuke of his disciples for wanting God to violently punish those they perceived to be enemies of the Gospel (vs. 52-55). In this context, Jesus said, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Notice how the Patriot’s Bible completely subverts Jesus’ teaching.
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Reflections on Ivan Illich’s
Give an underprivileged child a new set of clothes, a ruler and lunch box at the summer’s end and you will be called a hero. Tell that same child that if she knew what was good for her, she should run the other way when the proverbial school bell rings, and you will be branded a blasphemous heretic.
Yet according to Ivan Illich, Roman Catholic educator, author and social critic of the 1970’s, this latter action would be by far the more humanitarian approach.
In his powerful tirade, Deschooling Society, Illich shows how the institution of school, in it’s very essence, is the primary generator of our consumption driven society.
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Paperback: Marion Boyars, 1999.
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Rod Dreher Reflects on
Dan Everett’s DON’T SLEEP, THERE ARE SNAKEShttp://blog.beliefnet.com/crunchycon/2009/05/culture-and-the-knowability-of.html
Last night I read a fascinating book, “Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes,” an account of living in the Amazon jungle written by a linguist, Dan Everett, who initially went into the jungle as a missionary, but who came out an atheist. Everett’s website is here; you can order the book through it, if you like, and read interviews with him.
Everett spent decades living with the Piraha tribe, learning their extremely difficult language so he could translate the Bible for them, and lead them to the Christian faith. How he lost his own Christian faith in the process is a story that he tells in the book all too briefly; this is primarily a book about language. Still, I find myself this morning taken by a concept that recurs in the book: the subjectivity of knowledge, or, to phrase it another way, the cultural contingency of epistemology. Which is simply a fancypants way of saying not simply that the truths we know are culturally conditioned, but our way of knowing truth is also.
Everett begins his book with a startling anecdote. One morning, he and his family were awakened in their riverbank hut by the sound of the tribe rushing down to the river to see something amazing: a theophany. The excited Piraha were pointing to a beach on the opposite side of the river, where they saw “Xigagai, the spirit” appearing, and threatening the men with death if they went into the jungle.
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DON’T SLEEP, THERE ARE SNAKES
Hardcover: Pantheon, 2008.
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