ECCLESIOLOGICAL ETCHINGS June 15, 2023 I’ve been a little long-winded in recent Etchings, so today I’m attempting to change that. Sadly, brevity is my hope each day when I begin writing. I often refer to Proverbs 4:25 as the Squirrel passage. It reads, "Focus your eyes straight ahead; keep your gaze on what is in front of you." Like in the Pixar movie "Up," we are often taken off task by a squirrel or whatever it is that can easily distract us. So many of the Proverbs are practical advice that have little to do with any specific religion. In fact, an atheist would probably agree with a significant number of the wisdom thoughts. Of course, the next line says, "Watch your feet on the way, and all your paths will be secure." If your eyes are straight ahead and your gaze is in front of you, you’re not watching your feet. If you read these verses literally, you’re going to find yourself unable to move or with a sore neck as you continue to look up and down repeatedly. I know this is a rather simple example, but it reminds us that we are always interpreting scripture, choosing to emphasize one thought over another. Honesty in interpretation is understanding why I might emphasize one thing while someone else may choose to emphasize something else. Discovering and naming the interpretative lens is essential for any sort of conversation about scripture. And to anyone who simply says, "I just believe in the Bible," you’ll probably need a chiropractor to work on that neck pain.
As I explore scripture, O Lord, I pray for the wisdom to know the many lenses through which I view the scriptures. May this provide me with an openness to how others might find something different in their interpretation. Amen.