Interpretation & Not

Of late, there has been a great deal of internet blather on various blogs and discussion forums about a certain former Metropolitan Council member, his ruling Bishop, letters to and from, exclamation marks, the emotions transmitted by aforementioned exclamation marks, poor writing skills, and “what was he thinking”.  A man, who is now a woman who is married to a man who still is a man and another man who is married to man, are writing about same gender love and relationships, what the church *is* doing and/or *should be* doing, blah, blah, blah – enough to make ones’ head spin.  Much of it, okay – nearly all of it – makes me throw back my head and roar with laughter.   We can judge a person’s emotional state and attitude by the number of exclamation marks at the end of a sentence. I mean, really!

John 8

2 At dawn [Jesus] appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Dinner conversation with The Rev. Dr. Hubster revolved around the above story and the histronics going on in my church.  I am able to have the conversation because TRDH and I are good friends with several of the parties being banded about on the internet.  We know them…well.  Some of what is being said is absolutely ludicrous. We are stunned by the vicious and slanderous comments being made….by people purporting to be Christians.

Adultery, homosexuality, fornication, stealing, all are sins.  The adulterous woman acknowledged her sin – she confessed it.  Jesus did not condemn her but instructed her to “go and sin no more.”  Does she follow his instructions?  Do she “leave [her] life of sin”?  We don’t know for certain.  And if Jesus doesn’t condemn, why do we?  How do we?  How dare we!  Better, do we condemn ourselves?  Cozy, how our eye slips past our own sin of judgment to gaze upon the others’ sin.

The internet blather flails around like a worm in a hot frying pan.  Sizzle.  Sizzle.  Deciphering, decoding, detecting whether any good person’s words were meant one way yet written another.  It’s just simply nuts.

This blather has proved useful to me – one who defines herself as a historian.  After all, I have a history degree; doesn’t that make me a historian?  We read what another person wrote.  We read as much as we can – trying to get into their head and heart, to decipher, decode, and detect what they meant when they wrote in their diary or wrote a letter or an encyclical.  Sometimes there is enough primary and supporting documentation that one can make a fairly accurate statement regarding a writer’s thoughts.  Note I say “fairly accurate”.  We can never be 100% accurate.  Never.  Because we are not in the mind of the writer.  Also note I said “primary and supporting” documentation.  To take a single letter and extrapolate what a person was thinking or feeling in their heart and confirm that opinion using exclamation points as support is downright nuts.

I don’t know what goes on inside another’s home.  I certainly don’t know what goes on inside another’s heart.  It is incumbent upon me to examine my own heart and learn what is going on inside in order to correct it and follow Christ’s commandment to “go and sin no more.”



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