And why that's frustrating for everyone.
Such an important point, and beautifully expressed!
Yep and yep! (I think that's the Message version for Amen and Amen...jk 😂) I grew up in a conservative circle that did emphasize cultural context and I'm so grateful for that. As I've experienced other church groups that choose a very narrow literal lens, the best I can come up with is that they feel they can't have any room for doubts or questions in their faith. And yet, as we learned in Hebrews, to have faith is to believe something and orient your life in that direction--even when you *can't* see or know all the details. Abraham didn't know how many DECADES (and sin and chaos) would elapse before Isaac. Joseph didn't know how many DECADES (and sin and chaos) would elapse before God fulfilled the crazy dreams. To walk by faith is to believe while holding the questions, to walk forward with some raindrops and mud splatters on the map. I think that's also why conservatives have a hard time with the theology of the Holy Spirit, because it's hard to pin down the supernatural. And yet, it's the spirit that enables us to walk by faith, who guides us where we should go, and who faithfully brings us safely home.
Yes! Which means that treating the gospels, for example, as not necessarily in perfect chronological harmony can testify to the real historical witness that they are. Several eyewitnesses to a single event are more credible, not less, if their accounts slightly diverge. It shows they didn’t coordinate our just copy each other (though, of course, the Synoptic gospels do, on some things).