What Have They Done to My Genesis?

To my surprise, the PBS series showed me how I'd underestimated Scripture.

In the story of Cinderella, domineering stepsisters force a young girl to do the lowliest work in the house—until, that is, Cinderella's true beauty is discovered by the king's son. Her sisters are left dumbfounded. They had never dreamed that others might find Cinderella beautiful, much less that the prince would seek her hand.

This fairy tale came to my mind recently as I watched journalist Bill Moyers lead a discussion on the story of Cain and Abel on the pbs television series Genesis: A Living Conversation. It was one of ten free-wheeling discussions carried on by an eclectic group of noted authors, artists, clergy, and scholars that included Muslims, a Buddhist, a Hindu, Jews, agnostics, Catholics, and Protestants. While several later segments included evangelicals, there were none in this episode, titled "The First Murder."

As I watched it, it occurred to me that, as evangelicals, the Bible may be our Cinderella. We have opened our homes to her, but we have relegated her to washing our dishes and scrubbing our floors. We have used her to make our lives theologically comfortable; and she, never one to complain, has remained faithful. But we have been blind to her true loveliness and oblivious to the possibility that others might see real beauty in her. As the series clearly showed, our Cinderella has been to the ball, and the glass slipper has been found. The king's men are now knocking at our door, searching for the beauty they have seen in "our" Scriptures.

Old story, new perspectiveBefore the series was broadcast, I was prepared to dislike it, anticipating it to be another exercise in the postmodernist deconstruction of our sacred text. To some extent, it was. The participants seemed to read their own agendas ...

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