Monday, February 16, 2009

Stories and Metaphors

When I was a communicant we were asked to write a paper about what we believed. The others in our small class of three were literally A paper... a piece of paper. Mine was about 25 pages long! It covered everything from "why I thought we fold our hands when we pray" to "should homosexuals be ordained." I had a lot of beliefs, and a lot of shallow interpretations of what the Bible had to say. May approach was fairly literal.

For the past few weeks, we've been participating in a Bible study on The Gospel of John. The passage this last week was the Marriage at Cana (John 2: 1-12) in which Jesus turns water into wine. In our study, one of the things we've emphasized is a contextual understanding of the world and audience for whom the author(s) was writing. In this case, that lead me to a metaphorical connection between the wine of the wedding party and the faith of the Jewish people. The message being that Jesus was there to rejuvenate our faith with the best wine available; and it wouldn't begin with the hosts of the wedding, but with the servants to the party.

Looking for "hidden" meetings and metaphors reminds me of the 11th grade Honor's Englinsh in which we studied potery. It took hours to translate the poetry metaphors to something understandable. Perphaps I need to look for more metaphor in the Bible than prose.


Sarah said...

I agree. Metaphor is hugely important in reading the Bible. And it is one of the reasons that I can give a resounding "no" to people who ask me if I take the Bible literally. You simply can't! Parables and poems - for a start - are literature, not literal. And a number of other things are metaphorical or symbolic as well.

Stushie said...

However, Sarah, some people use the fleixibilty of metaphor as a means of excusing themselves from adopting the literal parts of the Bible.