Some will argue that one mark of a cult is its use of a “left hand bible.” Examples would include Science and Health with a Key to Scripture and the Book of Mormon. The accusation is that the Bile becomes secondary to these texts. Truth be told, we all have our own left hand bibles even if they aren’t collected and bound as actual texts. Anything from catechisms and doctrines to family and cultural influences become the lenses through which we interpret the Bible and thus grant scriptural authority. We grow so accustomed to seeing through these lenses we often fail to realize that we are wearing them. The can also easily become the log in our own eye preventing us from seeing the speck we can be so intent upon finding in the other’s eye.
The 20/20 vision afforded by hindsight enables us to see the faulty left hand bible used by 19th century slave owners blinding them to any scriptural injunctions against treating humans as property. But to be fair, if the fact that they were wearing flawed lenses had been so easy to prove we would have been able to avoid that painful and bloody chapter in American history. While I believe that some future Christians will be looking back on the church’s history of reading the Bible in a way condemning homosexuality as an example of another faulty left hand bible of cultural influence, I also accept that it is not clear in the present moment. Blogger Cynthia Astle ably described a couple of left hand bibles of the left and right which is a good call to humility reminding us that we not only view from different perspectives but also can discover our blind spots when we are brave enough to have honest conversations. As a post-liberal, I need to commit to giving serious consideration to issues such as liberty, loyalty and authority. It is not enough simply to insist that others agree with me to see to it that love wins. And if an Evangelical is to become a post-Evangelical then he or she needs to accept that when insisting that if the Holy Spirit is required to help us properly understand the Bible that God’s spirit blows where it wills so perhaps us neo-liberals are also hearing the voice of God in scripture.
I may not be as able to lay down my left hand bible as I would like to be, but being eager for convergence I am willing to try. That doesn’t mean that I will give up on reading the Bible through the lens of love and justice, nor will I stop advocating for full acceptance of my LGBT sisters and brothers. But I will gladly celebrate progress toward greater love and justice such as the wonderful story of how Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy has reached out to listen and learn. Is it enough? Well, no, I still want more, but in this convergence journey I’m glad to celebrate the progress while continuing down the stream created as we begin to flow together.