This fall I will be focusing on language. Whenever there is an election I am reminded of the importance of how language is used. Whenever there is conflict people use language to make points and disparage others. This is nothing new; it’s even in the Bible. A part of bible study is to figure out just what words meant when they were used. This past week Tom Roe read from the eighth chapter of Romans where Paul uses the terms sarx and pneuma which are rendered as “flesh” and “spirit” in the NRSV. Taken literally it would mean that to pay attention to our bodies will lead to death. As a matter of fact this interpretation lent itself to focus on sexuality. But as I said briefly on Sunday, the word sarx means much more than the physical body – it involves worldly things. In our day it would be about material possessions and wealth.
This fall the Adult Sunday School class will be reading and discussion Marcus Borg’s book, Speaking Christian: Why Christian Words Have Lost Their Meaning and Power and How They Can Be Restored. What have words like “sin” and “salvation” meant to us in the past and what do they really mean? I have no doubt that this book will generate good discussions.
In the Wednesday class we will be reading the Gospel According to Mark – which is the first gospel written. In this study too we will spend time on the meaning of words. We will start with the word “gospel” ; evangeleon in Greek. Most know that it literally means “good news” but how was it used? One way it was used was to announce the victory of the Roman armies. Knowing that, Mark is already challenging the powers that be – just by using this word.
If you have any questions about these classes please contact me. P.Jim