Q & R: Bible as Constitution

Here’s the Q:

I think your chapter challenging the approach of reading the Bible as a constitution is likely the most important chapter for Christians in the U.S. to read.
Do you have any practical advice for those of us who value the library approach but live within communities who take the constitutional approach but don’t realize it? What questions should we bring to the table to talk outside the constitutional framework of biblical study? I want to avoid falling into the trap of debating or discussing answers that result from the questioning of a constitutional approach.

Here’s the R:

This is a really important question. There’s much more that needs to be said (maybe folks will offer additional insights over at my facebook page?), but let me offer this.
Rather than constantly challenging the constitutional approach (which will probably only make people defensive), I’d recommend demonstrating the meaningful contributions that come from library approach. Show people how productive it is in generating profound and challenging meaning.
Share insights from reading the story of the Syrophonecian woman in conversation with Deuteronomy 7 (as I try to do in Everything Must Change).
Share insights from reading the story of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in conversation with prohibitions against a) Gentiles and b) the sexually “other” in the Law and prophets (as I try to do in New Kind of Christianity).
Share insights from reading Job as a debate about the complexities of life in conversation with Deuteronomy and Proverbs (as I try to do in Naked Spirituality), and so on.
When people see how beautiful, fruitful, inspiring, challenging, and thoughtful these readings are, they’ll see for themselves that the constitutional approach is stingy by comparison.
Well – some will. Others, I think, are so deeply embedded in the conventional approach that I don’t think they’ll budge any time soon. The best advice with them, I think is to receive the gifts they offer, to keep offering your gifts to them, and to love at all times.