I like learning about the history that happened around the stories in the Bible record. In a lot of ways it helps understand the bigger picture. After all, modern church teachings are aware that we have to understand the context of who the scripture was written for.
Trouble is, there is still a lot we don’t teach.
I’ve been watching a series on TV called “The Bible: A History”. It is a fascinating series where different people with different backgrounds tackle a thematic issue through the scripture and explore the history around it. The most recent one I saw was about women in the Bible and how egalitarian a lot of early Judaism and early Christianity really was. Amongst other things, it made me really annoyed at Augustine. Sure he had a lot of good things to say, but he also had some really severe hangups and they have infected a lot of church theology. It was Augustine who came up with the idea of “Original Sin”, for instance, when Genesis has no such idea recorded.
I am getting more and more disillusioned with “standard teaching” at my essentially mainstream church. It’s not a fundamentalist church, nor is it pentecostal, nor deeply conservative. I guess you could say it was “vaguely middle-of-the-road” with “fairly strong evangelical leanings.” I often wish we could move beyond the boundaries of the scripture, but I know that that is a difficult furrow to plough.