I’m not sure if I’ve written our most recent series well enough to avoid appearing sensational.

The series is titled “Murder,” and it does deal with 5 separate killings from scripture, but the point of the series is not to think of characters from scripture as murderers. Or to call into question violence in scripture, which could be an interesting series on its own. Or even to point out how many acts of personal violence either appear to be directed by God or are done in God’s name.

I just want youth to learn a new approach to scripture, an approach that models respect over fear.

I really want youth (and adults, I suppose) to have the confidence pull scripture apart like they would any other story or text. I think that youth and the adults that lead them have an unhealthy fear of questioning scripture. Fear is different than respect. Respect recognizes scripture as the our best connection to the spiritual groaning of those who have gone before us in our faith. Respect wants to embrace the historicity of the text and glean all it can from the original context without worrying first about how to apply it to today. In English. Fear doesn’t let us recognize the vast cultural differences that have transpired between then and now and the fact that in many cases we would handle many of the challenges presented in scripture very differently. Fear doesn’t let us question, because fear is afraid of what it might find.

Respect just wants to know the truth. Respect wants to know what the figures in scripture were thinking and why. Respect wants to appreciate why people made the decisions they made back then and later, separately, let those ancient ways of living inform its own. Or not; because Respect can disagree with the past without discounting it–a trick Fear has been unable to learn.

My hope, as your group dives in to this series, is that you’ll come away with a richer ability to unpack and examine scripture. That you’ll learn to see it from a slightly different perspective from time to time.

It won’t kill ya.