Jesus didn't speak in red letters

United Church of Christ - a just world for all
United Church of Christ – a just world for all (United Church of Christ, 2018a). Copyright 2018 by the United Church of Christ. All rights reserved.

The title refers to the fact that many translations of Christian Scripture put the words of Jesus in red.

I recently started reading several books for my United Church of Christ (UCC) Scared Conversations to End Racism (SC2ER) facilitator training, one of which is The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African diaspora (Page, 2010a). One of the first things that gave me pause to consider is the movement away from Old Testament and New Testament terminology to that of First Testament and Second Testament. While the terminology is not specific to this book alone, in my mind it drives home that I have a still speaking God, one of the foundational beliefs of the UCC (UCC.org, 2018), and that my ears need to be equally open to new interpretations.

Never place a period where God places a comma

Gracie Allen

While not too far into the reading as of yet, the book makes use of a historical and cultural centered perspective of reading, interpreting and understanding of Christian Scripture. When I was in seminary, before God dragged me into education kicking and screaming, the focus was less on the cultural and more on the historical. Textbooks we read were largely rooted in tomes written by foundational authors from a European Christianity perspective (James, 2010). Commentaries on the Scriptures were also by white authors, leading rise to my second point to ponder, “Given the importance of commentaries to those who read the Bible, it is surprising that biblical scholars receive little formal training in how to write them [(commentaries)]” (Page, 2010b, p. 6). A fact to which I can attest. And I, a somewhat trained reader, have to admit that while I have read from white culture, sometimes Israeli culture, and sometimes Greek culture perspectives, I have never read the Bible from a black or brown perspective or considered the large role Africa played during the First and Second Testament periods.

I look forward to hear how God is still speaking as I read this book and others during my journey as facilitator in training for the UCC SC2ER. Until then, I shamelessly plug the UCC.

United Church of Christ (2018b)

And if you’re ever in my “neck of the woods”, come visit me and my church family at Warwick United Church of Christ, 10 Matoaka Lane, Newport News, VA 23606 or like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/WarwickUCC/).

References

James, L. R. (2010). The African diaspora as construct and lived experience. In H. R. Page, Jr. (Ed.),The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African diaspora (pp. 11-18). Fortress Press.

Page, Jr., H. R. (Ed). (2010a). The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African diaspora. Fortress Press.

Page, Jr., H. R. (2010b). The Africana Bible: A rationale. In H. R. Page, Jr (Ed.),The Africana Bible: Reading Israel’s Scriptures from Africa and the African diaspora (pp. 3-10). Fortress Press.

United Church of Christ. (2020a). What we believe. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from https://www.ucc.org/about-us_what-we-believe

United Church of Christ. (2020b). Identity ads. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from https://www.ucc.org/god-still-speaking_ads

Warwick United Church of Christ [@warwickucc]. (2020). Home [Facebook page]. Facebook. Retrieved February 18, 2020, from https://www.facebook.com/WarwickUCC/

Author: Dr. Cook-Snell

PhD in Education, Instructional Design and Technology, and Lecturer at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA

One thought on “Jesus didn't speak in red letters”

Leave a Reply.