P e r s o n a l B l o g/T w i t t e r . : : . W r i t i n g B l o g/T w i t t e r

Hermeneutics - an explanation and a rant.

I feel like talking hermeneutics, now I'm not doing a whole lot of research as I type this, I'm just sort of talking out of my own experiences and studies here so I may get some terms crossed; hermeneutics and exegesis were used almost interchangibly in some of my experiences.  Hermeneutics, which I misspell regularly, is basically interpreting the Bible; a few years before I took Hermeneutics at SAGU they changed it to Biblical Interpretation or Interpreting the Bible, I forget - but it wasn't called Hermeneutics and I was sort of bummed.  I wanted to be all fancy and say, "Oh, excuse me, I have to get to Hermeneutics now."  Not really, that was a silly statement.  Anyways, Hermeneutics - I would have liked to have taken further classes in it but the offerings in the Undergrad Program were a little sparce.  Basically what it is is looking at a passage of scripture, I think we went through Psalm 1 in that class, and bringing out the historical context of the passage, extracting the central idea of the text - or principal, and communicating that by bridging the gap of time and culture.

You see, the Bible was written as instruction, letters, documents, journals, and other forms at the point of conception.  It was written during a specific time and place and to a person or people who were dealing with very real circumstances.  Using commentaries on the scripture, books on the historical period of the writing, and other texts, crossreferencing a passage you can begin to get more understanding of what was really being communicated.  The English language is much, much different from the origional languages the Bible was written in and some things just do not translate well at all, which is unfortunate.  In our language we have only one real word for love - love.  You can "love" someone, and depending on body language, connotations of culture and intention it can mean a world of different things.  That's about as far as we can get.  In the Bible there are several different ways of saying love, each communicating something different that is lost when all are simply translated as love.  "I love you," coming from God as opposed to a spouce is very different, just as in saying, "I love you," to your child is very different from telling your morning cup of coffee you love it.  Also, somethings were written to a people who were living in other cultures, lost or imprisoned or persecuted and that doesn't really communicate to every day America very well.

The key comes in looking at the different elements of a passage, really understanding the setting and people and mood, and then figure out the main idea, or the BIG idea of what was being communicated.  Often it should be condensed into one, simple sentence a person can communicate to another easily.  Lets take tattoos since people always like to quote that at me.  In Leviticus the writer was writing to the Hebrews who were living among a people who tattood themselve in memory and worship of their ancestors - thus when the Hebrews began doing this they were participating in ancestor worship - which is a no-no.  For a long time women were not allowed to uncover their heads in church - they had to wear hats.  That was because in the Old Testament it was considered offensive because woman came from man and was man's glory where man was God's glory.  Women covering their heads was a sign of respect, except it became twisted and for hundreds of years a woman with an uncovered head was very, very taboo.  The writer of Leviticus was reminding the Hebrews that they served one God and should not fall into idolitry.

Learning how to communicate the Bible to modern culture is difficult and many flounder and fail - but not for a lack of trying.  Digesting the Bible, researching and finding out what it really says is a long and very labor intensive process; I personally love it! I love learning new stuff - it's fascinating!  Combing through all of that information for the real nugget of what the writer was trying to communicate can take a very, very long time because you're looking for the main thing, not for the thing you want to talk about or promote.  Communicating timeless principals takes time and great care.  We had to read a book called Preaching with Freshness in my Biblical Preaching class and it was amazing; the author really communicated a dry subject with color and life that made me want to follow his lead.  Exegetical preaching is my favorite.  I really like how hermeneutics and exegesis work together to dig out the "meat" and serve it piping hot.

My last semester at SAGU I was asked to preach for Campus Days, and I remember being so honored and flattered.  I spent hours upon hours combing over the message I was going to give - fully aware that everyone expected something of me.  I know people were expecting me to have power point, video, props, people, and maybe a skit - so when I went up there with a few sheets of paper, a duct-taped Bible and just a mic at least half of the audience of 5,000 probably wondered what had happened with me.  Sometimes those are good ways to communicate what you want to say - but I had something to say that didn't need those - that would only be a distraction.  I can still remember the title of the message, "Today is the Tomorrow that we Worried About Yesterday."  Yeah, try saying that a bunch of times.  The idea I wanted to communicate was something alone the lines of: what are you really thinking about? Stop and smell the roses.  I had three points and I took extra time and revamped my message so that I spoke to the visiting highschool kids, the student body, the visiting ministers, and the faculty of the college.  I remember the hours I spent with teachers on the research, how many times I practices and asked oppinions and when it was all said and done - I still go back to school and people remember what I said.  It's sort of freaky - I don't mind being in front of people, but I don't need it.  Instead I choose to be flattered that I really did my homework; that I studeied the text, I figured out the Big Idea, and I communicated it to exactly where my audience was in such a way that it impacted them, or they were able to carry it away with them to chew on later.

I think what bothers me so much about some of the things I've seen on blogs and twitter over the last two or three days is that people aren't carrying with them the pieces they've heard - or they aren't even hearing them communicated in such a manner that they can be digested.  I think too many people who do bother to go to church are hearing a lot of stuff they just can't understand or connect to.  I think that's one reason why my church is growing and continues to be so big; our pastor speaks to where people are.  I'm not a huge fan of topical messages, and sometimes I feel like I'm not hearing enough heavy stuff, but I also have to keep in mind that I want to talk origional languages, history, context and root meanings - not everyone is into that sort of stuff.

Really I feel like too many people miss the big picture: Love God, Love People.  That was my old church's motto, so much the youth pastor got it tattoo'd on him, twice I think!  Far too much time is spent worrying over what books or music is acceptable or what people look like - focusing too much on what's out side and not enough on what's inside.  I love to sit and talk to people; I've had some of the most fascinating conversations talking to people at places like Buffalo Wild Wings while my friends drank a beer and I sipped on my water and we talked God.  People don't want to be hussled or yanked about like our parents and grandparends were; I don't know if the play Heaven's Gates and Hell's Flames would be as sucessful now as it was then - the scare tactics aren't as scary as the Saw series, or Quarantine or any other horror/thriller.  I really feel that people need to be communicated to like adults, and not have things dumbed down so much.  Telling people they're living in sin or doing sinful things entices no guilt in today's culture.

Yes, I'm poking my finger at a lot of stuff that has me sort of ranting and whatnot.  There are no quick fixes; denominations are too far estranged or entrinched over their doctrines, people are living their lives to some degree of happiness and the world continues to turn on in time.  I just needed to vent my frusterations, again.

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Grew up traveling to rodeos with my parents. I've gone across the world thanks to my gypsie feet. I feel sometimes like I've done everything & nothing. I've played roller derby, traveled parts of the world, have four degrees. I've done some things most people will never do in their lives & still I want to do more. I want to work with orphans & teenagers again. I'm a Christian. I have a lot of tattoos. I like art therefore I want to be art. I love people. I started writing years ago when I was a kid. I think at the time it was an outlet for me; I found escape in my word & the worlds I created. Eventually I just started to like creating stuff & that's when I started sharing it with other people. Now I think I write every day. I want to do NaNoWrMo this year. I'm also learning how to knit. I think I'm on my way to being an eccentric old woman who runs around the world doing silly cazy things and knitting while she does them. Be on your guard I have knitting needles!

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