Monday, October 22, 2012

Highly Recommended Book: Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes



This is one of those rare books that you should buy even if you know all the basic facts in it already -- and if you've read Tekton material for any length of time, you do. Richards and O'Brien give us the rundown on all those cultural facets of the Biblical world -- like honor and shame, collectivism, patronage, and so on -- that make it so vastly different than the world of the West.

What makes Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes special is that the authors have spent a good deal of time ministering in Indonesia, which gives them the chance to illustrate some of those differences with real-life examples from a parallel culture. Therefore, even if you do know all the factual material, it's worth having the book for these examples.

There's one more reason to buy it:  It will encourage IVP and other publishers to produce like it. Encourage them to do so -- buy a wheelbarrow, then fill it with copies of this.

8 comments:

  1. It's not only good for western readers; even in Asia, the work of WASP evangelicals have seriously distorted our reading of the Bible.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I see you approve of what I found. I will have to get it myself some time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was previewing the honor/shame chapter on Google Books, and on page 117, they say, "You may think, 'Is that even right? Surely, the person 'deep down inside' feels at least a twinge of guilt.' (In our experience, no, they do not.)" LOL. I like the straight, quick answer.

    Also, I found page 120 quite helpful when they say, "Today, we often skip over Paul's statement that his life was blameless according to the law before he met Christ (Phil 3:4-6). Paul shows no sign of a troubled conscience before or after his conversion. Yet we don't know how to have a conversion without inner guilt. Doesn't Jesus promise a Paraclete ('Advocate') that will convict the world? Absolutely (Jn 16). But what goes without being said us is that 'conviction' must be internal. In fact, we might (mistakenly) assume that is the only way the Spirit might work. Actually,the Spirit uses both inner conviction (a sense of guilt) and external conviction (a sense of shame). While the ancient world and most of the non-Western world contain honor/shame cultures and the West is made up of innocence/guilt cultures, God can work effectively in both."

    I hadn't really thought about how conviction works with guilty feelings and shame. Now it makes sense how the Holy Spirit can even bring conviction without using guilty feelings. Acts 2:36-37 easily springs to mind as an example where westerner's would easily come away with the wrong idea.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Another book to add to my "to read" list.

    ReplyDelete
  5. within 1 minute of reading your review, I purchased a copy somewhat compulsively.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for your kind endorsement. Brandon and I are delighted that you are enjoying the book--and recommending it! I had not seen your earlier comments about my Secretary volume. Thank you for that as well.
    -Randy

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Randy Richards: Definitely glad to do so! I've also shown your book to an Indonesian friend and we may use it as a basis for an expanded project of our own with more narratives illustrating the principles you discuss. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Found another book IVP has published in the past. Good to see Urbana is promoting it on the to-read list for preparation before going to the 2012 conference.

    https://urbana.org/go-and-do/books/cross-prodigal

    ReplyDelete