This morning’s Waco Trib has an interesting piece about a local project in “church swapping.” (I would share the link, but online access is by subscription only) The idea is to get people to try a church that is predominantly a different race than their own.
This post isn’t about race or church-swapping, however. In the opening paragraph one of the participants in the swap gives an example of the difference between the African American church he is visiting and his home church. He says
It’s more praiseful. For example, if they sing ‘Amazing Grace’ they put a different emphasis on the song,” Province said. “The words are the same, but the hints are different, whereas when I sing ‘Amazing Grace,’ I just sing it the way it was written.
Welcome to Postmodernism 101. Mr. Province’s belief that he sings a song “the way it was written” is presumptuous and fallacious. Unless, that is, he wrote the song or is good friends with whoever did.
This principle is important to keep in mind not just with songs, but with scripture as well. Many if us assume that we read scripture the way it should be read, to find the plain or obvious meaning. When we hear someone interpret it differently, then, we may too quickly assume that they (rather than we) are reading something into it, whereas we are just reading it “the way it was written.”
You don’t read something “the way it was written” just because you have always read it that way. The assumption that others are interpreting where you are simply reading is unfair to them and to yourself.