Sunday, December 12, 2010

imagination gone wild

When we got to the front of the autograph line, we claimed our own place in the pastoral guild and commented that we believed the kind of serious wonder Price advocates is a skill that all Bible readers should hone.
Conder and Rhodes, Free For All, p 233

The co-authors were at a book store, attending a reading. The author doing the reading was Reynolds Price, who seems to be a quite proficient author. The book of his that he was reading from was "A Serious Way of Wondering". Here is a bit of what the "Free For All" co-authors wrote about Price's book.

At the center of the book are several brief stories Price imaginatively crafts, focusing on Jesus' response to three profoundly contemporary ethical dilemmas: meeting a gay man, encountering Judas Iscariot in the act of suicide, and a conversation with a woman caught in a sexual liaison with a man who is not her estranged husband. A scandalous trilogy to say the least.
pp 232-233

So, it got me curious about what Price was writing. But how? Sorry, but I don't like spending hard-earned funds on books I'm sure will not be worth the funds involved. Getting them from used book stores is another thing, but frankly, I regret paying full price for emergent nonsense like McLaren's "A New Kind of Christianity". I have better things to waste my money on.

Enter the library. No, really, go right on in.

Anyway, I found out that a library in a nearby city had a copy of that book, so I made a brief trip to that city, for that and other reasons, found it, and read through those three stories.

I find it odd that Conder and Rhodes mention Judas only in regards to one of the stories, because he is the focus of two of them. In the first story, Judas is a young man not yet twenty years old, and he's a gay man whose main desire was to have a sexual relationship with Jesus. The resurrected Christ visits Judas first, as he's hiding in a cave working up to hanging himself. This Judas betrayed Jesus because he loved Him, and Jesus seemed quite fine with his love and desires, even saying to Judas that he'll not go to hell for what he's done.

In the second story, one independent of the first, Judas is preparing to hang himself. Jesus comes along, makes a bit of an effort to try to talk him out of it, but in the end helps him tie the rope and climb the tree so he can hang himself.

The third is based on the account of the woman caught in adultery, who is spared by Jesus and told to not do it again. Price gives this woman, unnamed in the Bible, the name of Rahab. He puts her in a bad, abusive marriage, and seems to hint that adultery may not have been all that wrong.

So, is this one thing Conder and Rhodes mean by "the kind of serious a skill all Bible readers should hone"? Make some kind of bizarre story, only marginally related to the biblical account, and then use it to say that good is evil and evil good?

One fo the remarkable aspects of the evening, however, was simply the author's repeated acknowledgement that his imaginative musings were forbidden by the church and established Christianity.
p 233

Really? Wow, I wonder why.

I don't know what else he's written in his "imaginative musings", but if these short musings are a example of what he's doing, then I'm not at all surprised that they have been forbidden, and good for the churches that have done so. And it's rather pathetic that he has to try to play the "poor poor presecuted me" act because of his "imaginative musings".

Your story is imagined.

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