Thursday, May 10, 2018

Discussing Why I Left, Why I Stayed by Tony and Bart Campolo

If you've seen many of my posts this year you probably know that at the end of 2017 I started an online Theology Book Club by creating a Facebook group and inviting people I thought might be interested. And that led to opportunities to be on John Weldy's podcast, Reclaiming Christianity, where we talk about the books we are reading in the book club. So our book for this month is Why I Left, Why I Stayed by humanist Bart Campolo and his father, evangelist Tony Campolo. And last night John Weldy, Thad Crews and I discussed the book and our own faith journeys.

Listen to this episode here.

(Subscribe on iTunes)

Panelists: Jennifer Neyhart, Thad Crews

The Panel gives their book recommendations:
Book review of Why I Left, Why I Stayed by Tony and Bart Campolo:

Thad and I both felt like Tony and Bart talked past each other a bit. Thad doesn't think Tony understands what Bart's real issue is: that he just doesn't/can't believe that stuff anymore.

When I was reading Bart's chapters I kept thinking that I agreed with him on a lot of his criticisms of evangelical theology, but I wanted to say what about this? What about these other interpretations? These other options? Contrary to what some of them (conservative evangelicals) may say, it's not their interpretation or nothing.

John asked me and Thad to give our responses to the following questions:
  • Tell us a bit about your background.
  • What does leaving/staying mean to you?
  • Why did you leave/stay?
  • How have you responded to pressure to stay/leave?
Then John read one of Bart's chapters in the book (p89-95) and we discussed it.

I really liked something Tony said in the next chapter, responding to Bart's issues with the errors and contradictions in the Bible:
"Sure, if you try to read it literally, the Bible contains some mistakes and inaccuracies, but that is not how its ancient authors expected it to be read, and that is not how it has been read by Christians for hundreds and hundreds of years. In fact, the idea that the Bible is literally and inerrantly true is a relatively new one, introduced at the beginning of the twentieth century by a small group of American Protestants in a series of tracts called “The Fundamentals.” Unfortunately, those fundamentalists and their followers have led lots of people—including lots of skeptics—into reading the Bible the wrong way. 
As I see it, the Gospel writers were not as interested in the details of Jesus’s life as they were in the truth of it. Like their Old Testament counterparts, they carefully constructed their stories to give their readers insights about the meaning and purpose of life. To ask if this or that really happened the way it’s described is to miss the point. What matters isn’t whether each of those accounts is scrupulously accurate and consistent with all the others. What matters is what they collectively reveal about the nature of God." (137)
I also agreed with this quote from Tony:
"the penal substitutionary doctrine of the atonement is only one explanation of how our salvation was accomplished by Jesus on the cross, and [...] none of them alone can contain the whole story. What happened at Calvary is far too profound to be reduced to a simple formula." (131) 
Panelist Goodbye - Where can people find you?

Thad Crews:

Theology Book Club:
June: Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans
July: Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again by Rachel Held Evans

If you would like to join the Facebook Group you can click here to email me. Or click over to the Theology Book Club page and submit the contact form you will find there.

This is a link to an Amazon list of the books we have been reading/will be reading in the book club.

Previous episodes that I have been on:
35: Evolution of the Word by Marcus Borg, part 1
30. Axioms of Faith (Finding God in the Waves by Mike McHargue)
29. The Cosmic Christ (Love Wins by Rob Bell)
27. Women and Evangelicalism (Rescuing Jesus by Deborah Jian Lee)
20. Living Through a Faith Shift (What is the Bible? by Rob Bell)
19. God and the American Empire (What is the Bible? by Rob Bell)
18. Anakephalaiossathai (What is the Bible? by Rob Bell)

No comments: