Eat this Book: The Answer to Moral Authority
I think Eugene Peterson in his book, “Eat this Book” (which our staff and board will all be reading – and discussing – very soon) articulates this crisis of moral authority (see previous post) very clearly when he writes: “What has become devastatingly clear in our day is that the core reality of the Christian community, the sovereignty of God revealing himself in three persons, is contested and undermined by virtually everything we learn in our schooling, everything presented to us in the media, every social, workplace, and political expectation directed our way as the experts assure us of the sovereignty of self. These voices seem so perfectly tuned to us, so authoritatively expressed and custom-designed to show u how to live out our sovereign selves, that we are hardly aware that we have traded in our Holy Bibles for this new test, the Holy Self. And don’t we still attend Bible studies and read our assigned verse or chapter each day? As we are relentlessly encouraged to consult our needs and dreams and preferences, we hardly notice the shift from what we have so long professed to believe."
The way out of this is neither a reduction of the Bible to some sort of legal code, from which we extract mere precepts for living, nor a post-modern skepticism that resists articulating meaning. Instead we need to recover the elements addressed in the book: exegesis and lectio-divina (among other elements) as the means of growing continually in our understanding and living.
Moral Authority? We who call ourselves ‘believers’ are saying (if we stand in the stream of history) that we believe this authority comes from the God whose story and heart is revealed in the Bible. So let’s learn together to read it, pray through it, be shaped by it. It’s a great need for out time.