Winter Reflections

With long icicle whiskers dangling from the grill and a smooth icy glaze cocoon reflecting mottled colors, my car resembled a giant catfish more than my trusty set of wheels. Two days of drizzling freezing rain combined with pellets of sleet have created an unprecedented two snow days for San Antonio schools. Perhaps even more interesting than experiencing this freakish winter blast, however, entails perceiving how people’s reactions to this irregular frozen landscape has provided commentary upon the myriad theological interpretations swirling around today.
To be sure, how people interpret freezing weather should bear no relationship to how people understand the Bible, but unfortunately the former all too often provides a paradigm explaining the latter. Consider for a moment the kaleidoscope of perspectives which have arisen from our icy escapade. My boys are simply giddy with this weather because school has been dismissed. On the other hand, dizzying excitement describes neither the city officials nor the television weather personnel who have repeatedly warned citizens not to venture out into our dangerous ice rink. Undoubtedly, business owners are burdened with thoughts of lost sales and productivity. Such a bewildering array of understandings will always exist whenever people approach any subject with their own agendas.
While it may be valid for people to discover different meanings from a winter storm, such a menagerie of interpretations are unwarranted whenever someone has communicated a specific message. God’s word is not like art or a winter wonderland. The Bible is deliberate communication. For this reason, preconceived agendas involving religious traditions, politics, philosophical assumptions, debates over gender and so forth are not only unwarranted when approaching scripture, they will inevitably distort what is understood. Comprehension and acceptance of the intended message must precede any of our special interest questions.
Can there be hope for us to adequately understand scripture’s intended message? Sure. Because you had no need for me to defend your agenda, you have simply listened and understood my message. So too, by relinquishing our need for scripture to support our ideas, we can take a first giant step toward an adequate understanding by simply and humbly listening for the intended message. To be sure, this is not the only step, but without it the rest degenerate into sophisticated tools of manipulation.

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