The work of interpreting life and scripture, and the understanding of the lenses by which we make such interpretations, is called hermeneutics. Knowing — and testing — our individual & cultural hermeneutics is necessary work for ministry and for maturity of faith.

Hermeneutics is an academic kind of word but it’s an everyday kind of work. We constantly interpret the world, the Bible, and our lives through various frameworks: social identities such as gender & race, life experiences of love & loss, histories & values that we’ve inherited through family & church, and more. At its best, hermeneutics is not a navel-gazing pursuit but a Spirit-full discipline that keeps its heart open to community and mystery.

Today’s Friday Festival explores hermeneutical perspectives as written throughout our blogging community:

+ over the water invites us to pay attention to the world as it is experienced by mothers who have lost their children to the violence of the powerful:
“The bones of children
sacrificed to satisfy
other people’s hunger;
other people’s honour;
other people’s pride.”

+ sandpiper’s thoughts encourages patience and grace for a hermeneutic that relies on questions, and she quotes Frederick Buechner: “Don’t start looking in the Bible for the answers it gives. Start by listening to the questions it asks.”

+ liberation theology lutheran helps us greet difficult moments and difficult visitors — even such visitors as auditors — with a perspective of hospitality: “Let our speech be true and concise. … Let our words and actions be pleasing to all who judge us.”

+ god of the sparrow explores hope amid extreme situations, leaning on an interpretation of 1 Kings 19 to find “the whisper of that small voice, the voice that does not give us control, but does give us hope.”

+ and tales from the great adventure remembers to step back to see the big picture when the small details disappoint & irritate, reminding us that “the pile of stuff (the details and the distractions and the problems and the often tedious tasks) that we have to move aside…because it blocks our path and clogs our vision does not define us!”

So friends, what interpretive lens is especially poignant and/or useful in your preaching and teaching, your living and loving these days? Add your thoughts to the comments as well as a link to one of your own blogposts as we reflect on hermeneutics together.

Rachel G. Hackenberg is a United Church of Christ minister, soccer mom, blogger, and author. Her book Sacred Pause plays with words to refresh our relationship with The Word.

RevGalBlogPals encourages you to share our blog posts via email or social media. We do not grant permission to cut-and-paste prayers and articles without a link back. For permission to use material in paper publications, please email revgalblogpals at gmail dot com.

One thought on “Friday Festival: Hermeneutics

  1. I so appreciate your reference to sandpiper’s thoughts and the reminder she quotes from Frederick Buechner: “Don’t start looking in the Bible for the answers it gives. Start by listening to the questions it asks.”

    Such a freeing and sound admonition for us all!


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