The study of an ancient sacred text by a contemporary audience can be difficult at best and downright dangerous at worst.
Without entering the gauntlet of hermeneutic principles here, there is one certainty: The human approach to interpreting Scripture is through eyes conditioned by culture and life experiences. There are just no exceptions.
No wonder different conclusions are made on hot topics like war, abortion and sexual identity. Most of the time we see what we want to see based on what we have seen. But do we see things as God intended?
There is no doubt we need new eyes.
King David realized this when he prayed, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Apart from the guidance of God’s spirit, a faithful interpretation of the Biblical text is not possible, much less its application.
Even still, faithful people will often disagree. Call it our human condition. Blood pressure will skyrocket. Doors will get slammed. Chick-Fil-A’s will be boycotted and celebrated. But above our particulars and nuances, Jesus prayed that His faithful would be united in an uncommon love.
Perhaps we can agree to disagree, but we cannot not love. Maybe the better question is, “Do I still love the people that disagree with me the most?”
Brock Stamps, Harvest Church of God, Anniston
Our experiences are not the same
We must understand and appreciate that people of faith come from different social backgrounds, different ideologies and different perspectives. Being people of faith does not equal having the same conclusion when it comes to responding to social issues.
We all have ideas about how to best solve problems, but all ideas are not based on the lived experiences of people whose lives are directly impacted by the problem. When I am directly impacted by an issue, I am more aggressive in coming to a conclusion that speaks to me and people like me who are affected by that same issue.
As a woman and a minority, I am concerned about the history of the issue and how the Bible has been and is being used to address those issues, particularly issues that are deeply rooted in racism and the oppression of women. Social issues are broad, global and diverse.
Common among the faithful is our focus on God, Jesus and the Bible. As people of faith, we are always growing in our faith, which places us in different places of faith along this journey. This could be a reason the faithful have different conclusions on social issues. As I grow in my faith, I am learning more about how I believe God wants me to respond to social issues.
Alberta McCrory, Gaines Chapel AME Church, Anniston