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"Hermeneutics" - Monday Moment - May 2, 2022

Updated: May 26, 2022

“In a sense, we are all writers of our lives—breathing and living our words.” – SARK

I’ve always loved to write and recently I passed the major milestone of completing the first full draft of my dissertation. Yes, there will be revisions to come, but one draft of the whole manuscript is complete. As I’ve made progress on the dissertation my dream of writing a book has come back loud and clear. Putting words on the page and into the world is not only an act of creation but a profound act of courage. Artists lose control of their work as soon as it’s in the world. Words can be misinterpreted and used for purposes an author never intended.

Lately, cities and states have been in the news for attempting to ban certain books from schools and public libraries. Some of the reasons for these bans include sex, LGBTQIA+ characters, and topics that challenge white supremacy. In protest, several activists have been filmed telling people about a book that depicts sisters getting their father drunk and having sex with him. Obviously, people say this book, whatever it is, should be kept away from children. That story is from the Bible, specifically the Book of Genesis. Words can be twisted, taken out of context, and used for purposes that their authors never intended and could never have intended. There are a handful of passages—often called the “clobber passages”—which are routinely used to argue that God at best considers LGBTQIA+ people sinful and at worst hates them. Words are meaningless symbols until they are given life by readers, interpreters, and users.

As a Christian and, yes, particularly as a gay Christian, I often think about hermeneutics (that is, interpretation). Even if your belief is that the Bible is the literal, inerrant word of God that transcends all ages and societies, you must critically examine your translation of the Bible and if that translation was polluted with interpretation. For example, prior to the 1946 publication of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, the word “homosexual” never appeared in the Bible. In fact, “homosexual” cannot be in the original text. It wasn’t coined until the 19th century. Interpretation is virtually impossible to avoid in the Bible. Here’s what I’ve learned: it doesn’t matter how we interpret the Bible or if we believe it’s inerrant or filled with holes and clear myths. What is important is that we live that Bible, and we live the words of our beliefs.

How do you interpret the Bible? How do you live the words of your Bible? How do you live the words of your beliefs?

Let’s pray: God, it’s us and we need your help living the words you have given us. Sometimes we find those words in the Bible and other times we find them in other places. Sometimes those words have always been in the deepest places of our minds and souls. Help us find those words. Help us bring them out and show them to the world through our actions. We ask this of you, the author of life. Amen.

Blessings, friends, on your week! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.




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