Though I eventually left the Reformed Church in which I was raised, I did so with a debt of gratitude, most notably for one rather conservative pastor who had met my youthful rebellions with untiring patience.
It was a sad day in the history of the church when Paul’s statement about being “all things to all men” first came to be seen not as a call to diversity but as a claim of versatility. St. Paul the Jewish apostle to the gentiles turned into Reverend Paul the Jack of all trades.
Then she was my high school sweetheart, now she is my wife of 25 years, but we still laugh about that evening when, sitting close on the couch in my living room, we were momentarily startled by a raucous noise directly overhead. Groaning and banging like a poltergeist, something seemed about to take the roof off the house, not to mention the glow off the evening.
Traditional Christian appropriation of the Hebrew scriptures often flattens them. Stories become precursors of later New Testament events rather than genuine events in themselves. Vivid multidimensional characters become mere prefigurations instead of figures in their own right, and complex narrative situations are reduced to a single theological point.