07 February, 2009

Verses as Fortune Cookies

So while I was doing my quiet time this morning I remembered this scene from the West Wing (yes my mind does work this way), which remains one of my favorites.

To set the scene, there is a reception at the White House for radio hosts and one of the hosts is Dr. Jena Jacobs - a conservative talk show host who, having a PhD in literature, gives her listeners advice on marriage, finances, struggles, etc. as Dr. Jacobs.

President Bartlet, a Biblical scholar himself, comes into the room and starts speaking. Seeing Jena he calls her out. Note, she is the only person sitting in the room, something that comes into play later.

Bartlet starts out by asking, "I am interested is selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7... What would a good price for her be?" He then leads into a tirade that can only be called classic, questioning how he should murder his chief of staff for working on the Sabbath, or if the Redskins can play football if they promise to wear gloves and therefore don't actually touch the pigskin themselves, or can he burn his mother in a smaller ceremony for wearing garments of two different threads?

One of the most ignorant things to me is people who quote one verse in the Bible to prove a point without taking into considerations the verses around it, the larger chapter and book and the entire Bible as a whole. Verses are not fortune cookies to be dispensed/selected as we see fit to suit our agenda. The Biblical story is complete from Genesis to Revelation and should be seen as such, making careful consideration of the entire narrative before we pluck some saying or defense out for ourselves.

Watch the scene below.

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© Amanda Lunday