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Statement of Purpose
by Gigi (oldschoollozfan)
at February 22nd, 2009 (06:25 pm)

Welcome to Enlighten Us! Just to get the ball rolling, here's some guidelines as to the community format and goals.


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1) Think of this as a blog. Seriously! Each week, we'll post a section to read and a list of questions to ponder. From there, feel free to elaborate on the sections in question. You can give your interpretation of the storied events, attempt to answers the questions offered in the context of your own life lessons, provide links to articles or give the name of books/movies that discuss the events depicted (for example, we're discussing the Exodus and you saw that Discovery Channel special on the possible scientific explanations behind the plagues, go ahead and reference it and give your insights so others who are interested can look it up). You can also add to the lesson plan by commenting with your own questions and seeing what others have to say. If you know of a Bible passage that you believe references the events we're discussing, feel free to point them out. Also, because different publications of the Bible, including translations into other languages, can vary in their wording and overall tone, feel free to mention the differences you've spotted and how it colors your interpretation.

2) We're not here to instruct or provide answers. Rather, the purpose of this community is to help fellow Christians and other interested parties research and find new meaning within Scripture. We're not here to bash Christianity or any other religion, but rather to attempt to shed light on the Word, in-context of both the era it was written AND in the context of the human experience, and ask how those concepts might still be applicable today. There are many passages in the Bible that are cloaked in mystery, and make us ask basic questions such as "did this really happen?" and "why was this story/parable important enough to be included?" and, frequently, more existential questions, such as "is still idea still relevant" and "what wisdom does this have that I can learn from and pply in my own life?".

3) There are no right or wrong answers, and no such thing as a stupid question. This is purely a study guide. Use it to gain insight into new interpretations that you may not have otherwise considered. Likewise, your viewpoint is valid, and may provide an alternative that others may not previously have considered.

4) However, make no mistake: there ARE inappropriately-phrased comments and irrelevant questions. For this reason, please refrain from attacking others or coming off as a zealot, and from posing questions that are not relevant to the discussion topic at hand. You may express your views, of course, but be respectful and thoughtful at all times (flames, attacks, beating people over the head, and general wank will be screened or outright deleted, regardless of whether you start it or otherwise participate in it).

5) There will be views expressed here that will challenge your current perceptions. This is a good thing! Far too often, we allow doctrine and personal experience and culture to color our views of Scripture, but the Bible wasn't written for just one culture or one person at one point in time. It is a product of its time, of course, because it was ultimately written down by people, and has been interpretted and reinterpretted across the centuries. HOWEVER, the Bible is a collection of wisdom; a testament to the human experience, and as such it is worthy of respect and consideration, even if you're not a practicioner. It is up to each and every one of us to find meaning in it, and seek ways to apply its important lessons to our everyday life. As the only thing constant in life is change, we must be flexible, and allow for a variety of possible interpretations. You need not agree with them all, of course, but it is the premise of this community that simply by thinking upon the meaning of these passages, you will learn things about yourself, your faith, and your religion.

6) Whenever possible, provide references. Since this is a study community, anectdotes, quotes, links to research material, source listing, and examples of your personal experiences are highly valued.

7) When commenting, please include a brief header/title synopsis of what your comment addresses. For example, if you're providing research material information, the header for the comment should be "Research", "Additional Information", etc. If you're posing a question not included in the original study guide, the header should read "New Question". If you're attempting to answer a question, write "PoV", "Interpretation", "Insights", etc. and, if possible, the question it's in regards to. Personal experiences should also belabelled as such. This isn't a requirement, but it's highly encouraged in order to make navigation easier for other readers, including anyone wishing to re-read old study sessions, such as new members. When comments become so numerous that LiveJournal condenses them to single lines, headers become life-savers.


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Basically, we want to keep things fairly loose, with just enough organization to not be a headache. Once again, welcome to Enlighten Us! Your participation, your views, and your cooperation are MOST appreciated!