Saturday, February 13, 2010

Scouting the Divine

God has always tried to relate to us through the real world – to come down to our level and communicate with us in a way we could try to understand.  The stories of the Bible were told in terms that ordinary people could understand. 

Unfortunately, as times changed, the ordinary experiences of ancient times became the extraordinary experiences of modern times.  I’ve been reading an interesting book titled Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey by Margaret Feinberg.  Margaret decided to embark on a journey of discovering truths in the Bible that have been hidden from us by a changing culture.  She did so by seeking out and spending time with a sheep farmer,  a vintner, a beekeeper – just to learn more about sheep, wine, and honey.

She writes that her book is “an intentional search for ways to move from reading the Bible to entering stories that can be touched, tasted, heard, seen, smelled and savored.  Scripture is sweetness and sweat, bitterness and blood, tremors and tears.  Scripture is life – and we are called to live it.”

In her time with a sheep farmer, she learned what it meant to know each sheep by name, and what it meant for the sheep to know the shepherd.  She learned about the vulnerability of sheep who lack a shepherd.  She felt the softness of first-shorn wool, and the difficulty of raising an unblemished lamb.  She experienced the need to discipline a rambunctious sheep, and how necessary this was to protect the flock.  The “drawbridge lowered” (as she put it) to help her cross the chasm between her life and God.

I don't think it is intended to be a work of great theological depth (and sometimes I wonder if "depth" isn't just a polite way of saying "obscure") but I'd be surprised if you didn't get a sermon illustration or two out of it - and maybe some insight as well.

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