The Lens

I believe the Bible. Such declaration demands but rarely accommodates the inevitable responsibility to remove the tinted lens through which we view Scripture and uncover the truths within it to which our “biblical” traditions and “church” doctrines have blinded us. Too many of us get so caught up in living righteously that we are too busy to ask ourselves hard questions. We approach Scripture seeking to affirm the lifestyle we have already chosen, because we do not have the time, energy, or desire to be converted. Often, an overly simplistic reading and interpretation of Scripture actually uses the Bible to justify a lack of concern and care for the poor.

The lens we bring to Scripture keeps us from seeing the overall story of God’s justice in both the Old and New Testaments. We read prophets like Jeremiah and Amos with our hearts disconnected because we are unwilling to acknowledge our own affiliation with Israel’s oppression of the poor. We emphasize the Sermon on the Mount recorded in Matthew rather than in Luke because Jesus’ addendum in verses 24 and 25 of chapter 6 threatens to undermine our feeling of security in Christ: “But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger.”

Though we may experience emotion upon seeing a mirage of pain or hearing echoes of a child’s cry we really want nothing to do with their issues–issues of world hunger, of global slavery, of spiritual darkness. We have traditionally refused to associate intimately with the justice of God, Lover of the poor. Can we afford to care?

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