To interpret scripture for the reader’s own convenience promotes a radical violence to the character of the biblical message. It fosters a fatal vanity that one’s life is divinely favoured. It creates a civic religion that is insanely hostile to the Word of God…that is, to Christ. And it promotes a political stance that places all who do so as a divinely favoured people who are especially esteemed by God. Material abundance, productivity, technology, and the military all prove this supposed nationalist-individualistic virtue.
In order to come to one’s senses as a member of the body of Christ requires refusing to read scripture as a tract. It draws from a mindfulness that requires the reader to deny the temptation to violate the story of God’s work in the world in a way that justifies one’s one social and nationalistic status.
The gospel is not an ideology. Nor can it be ideologized. To read the Bible as anything other than a testimony precludes the mystery of revelation to which scripture invites us to be open, and which is always more versatile and manifold than what any Christian can ever comprehend. Encountering God is always a matter of coherence, and not of consistency. It is always a matter of style and not stereotype, precedence and not model, parable and not proposition. This militant character of the Word of God at work throughout history refutes any notion, or canon, or abstraction of it.
Our participation in both the Benedictine and Catholic Worker communities arises out of this experience.