In her blog entry, Biblical women and Lifetime’s The Red Tent, Julie O’Brien refers to people “who are desperately seeking a usable past.” My experience is that many Christians seeking a positive word from the Bible on Jesus, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender equality, violence, and other issues of peace and justice often fit such a description. The good news is there is some good news. There are some minority repors that often go unnoticed by patriarchal, domesticated Christians and institutions. However, there is much not to like in the Bible (and the scriptures of other religions). In the quest to desperately seek a usable past, people of faith must not be in denial or be delusional, or at worst, dishonest, about the historical and cultural conditionedness of their scripture. Fortunately, there is within the Bible evidence of scripture being a living tradition. Every generation must decide what to stress, what to ignore, what to critique, and what to add or alter. The canon may be closed in an official theology sense but not in an everyday, practical sense.
May God give us the wisdom to know what to keep and what to chunk.