Looking at the Bible with Shane Hipps

By wayne.steffen on March 20, 2013 @ 7:08am

By Christopher Cristwell 

In third grade Shane Hipps was diagnosed with dyslexia. One of his treatments involved placing a series of colored overlays and filters over his eyes to improve his brain's ability to process visual information. Although Hipps confessed to only wearing the glasses to a "college 70s party" he uses them now as a metaphor to help people see the lenses they wear—assumptions they make—when reading the Bible.

On February 24, Hipps came to FPU to talk about the ideas in his book, Selling Water by the River: A Book about the life Jesus Promised and the Religion That Gets in the Way. The event, "A Day with Shane Hipps," was a partnership between the biblical/religious studies and advancement departments.

Hipps took the stage in Butler Church clad in blue jeans. His message, he said, was intended for everyone ranging from, "fundamentalists to new age seekers." Everyone is wearing lenses when interpreting the Bible, according to Hipps, lenses that are designed to be imperceptible.

Aware of the sensitivity of the subject matter Hipps warned the 170 people in the audience that what he was about to say might sound like heresy. He then named the lenses given to him as a child regarding how to interpret the Bible: The Bible is the word of God, the Bible has no errors and the Bible is flat (no part is more important than another part). In addition to the lenses he should wear, there were lenses he should never wear: The Bible is a collection of ancient literary works, the Bible contain metaphor and the Bible is one of many sacred texts.

If people aren't aware of the lenses they are wearing, and in turn don't choose the lenses they want to wear, lenses will be forced upon them, Hipps said. Even Jesus revealed that he wore lenses when reading the Bible, Hipps said. When asked, "Which is the greatest commandment in the law?" Jesus put two commandments above all others: To love God with all of your heart, and to love your neighbor as yourself. "The Bible isn't flat for Jesus, why is it for us?" Hipps said.