The minute we claim a reading of apocalyptic literature that is exclusive -- this story is about us, our age, our nationality, our crisis -- we deny the book's relevance to other Christians removed from us in space and time.
Ordinary Christians have been doing without biblical scholarship, or with very little exposure to it, for centuries. And it's plain to see that Christian biblical scholars are no more saintly than anyone else.
I grew up in the South in the Baptist faith, so I am well-versed in the biblical stories, but never once did I hear homosexuality connected to Noah's flood. I was confused by this logical leap by Faith and Freedom's Matt Barber, so I did a little research.
It should be no surprise that biblical scholars run in all shapes, sizes, colors and denominations. What would surprise many people, though, is this one fact: many of us have our roots in fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity.
The more seriously one takes the Bible, the more seriously one should be willing to wrestle with its internal complexities. It is a remarkable collection of countless people's perspectives from a broad range of locations over the course of centuries.
The paratextual content in modern Bibles goes far beyond basic features, of course, and there appears to be no limit to the marketing creativity of publishers who continuously repackage the Scriptures.
If we emphasize Jesus' death, cut out from the whole tapestry of his life, we reduce his crucifixion to perverse ritual rather than a direct consequence of his confrontation with the powers of his day.
Eeven with its carnivalesque reversal of values, heavy metal is a conservative art form. The stress on dark elements in biblical apocalyptic language here contributes to a forceful and emotively charged call for peace.