If reading is fundamental, interpretation is impossible without it. When an interpretation is offered apart from reading a text the interpreter is rupturing his or her own ideology.
Last week I was alerted to the furor over President Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. Soundbite reporting fueled a discursive backlash. Many pontificated on the President’s weak grasp of history. So, rather than take their word for it, I found the transcript and read it for myself.
What startled me is that many of those who hijacked an otherwise good speech appeared to have missed everything but the two sentences that got all the bluster. Here is a link to the transcript.
Come back after reading. If you read on without it and decide to interpret my comments or the writers to whom I will link, you have proven my point.
Pastors should especially know how to handle a text. If they did not we would all be handling snakes. When the outcry from those who share my vocation is as loud as it was, one wonders if there are snakes in many a pastor’s closet.
My friend Bert posted a thought about who knows what, but it fits here. Criticizing conservatives does not make one a liberal. But, if that fits your game of categories then so be it. Do not take it as Monday morning snark, as if yesterday was a bad day at the office.
In fact, conversations yesterday are prompting my own post today. When we explore the Sacred Text we learn early to pay attention to context. The speech was at the National Prayer Breakfast and not addressed to a joint meeting of Congress intended to address what is next for the US and ISIS.
Rather than trail on, I think these two articles are worth your time. But, read them before interpreting.
After reading, let’s have a conversation. But, not before.