I can remember being a kid, watching the MGM's Wizard of Oz. I was transfixed by the characters and their concern for Dorothy. As an adult I have a new fondness for the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion. Today I am a theologian and my passions tend to follow biblical aspirations. I can look at the Baum classic with new eyes and see how this trio of friends can also be used to understand how we should delve into scripture.
Scarecrow: It would be foolish, being a graduate from a well respected seminary, to suggest we shouldn't think about what we are reading in the bible. As congregants, sometimes we put too much trust in our pastor. The scripture is so rich and complex. We should be discovering it every day in new ways. Ask questions, and use your brain. What did the well look like that the woman and Jesus was standing at? What does it mean that Jesus forgave the criminal on the cross without a baptism? Ask. Seek. Find.
Tin Man: Why is it, that churches across the nation, go to read the bible on a Sunday morning and all of them speak in that reverent monotone voice? If the bible is part historical document, there are real emotions and feelings behind the text. Motivations are not just made with the head but also with the heart. We should understand the feelings behind the 5,000+ people at the feeding. We should feel the terror of a woman going to touch the robe of Jesus, or the passion behind Mary washing Jesus' feet with her hair.
Lion: Usually we are hindered by our emotional and mental journey though the bible because we don't have the courage to find the truth. We are afraid our belief system might be undone if we delve too deep into the word of God. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, it is the ability to face that fear in order to do what is right. Remember, when God had a courageous task for someone he had a line for them, "Do not be afraid." I say, I understand why real biblical exploration can be scary, there is nothing to be afraid of. No matter what journey we take, God is there by our side.