Peter Gomes Translates the Bible

Question: When does interpretation become misinterpretation?

Peter Gomes: That’s a very good question, and I deal with that in my preaching course when I say, “We must remember that it’s not about me. It’s not about you.” And therefore you have to ask this question: “What does the text permit me to say? What are the options available here? How may I … How may I …” and that’s the operative word. “How may I proceed?” Not, “How can I twist this into something that I wish to say?” Or, “How can I make this fit the agenda of the moment?” And there’s a certain humility – which may not seem to be one of my chief characteristics – but one actually facing the text, the longer one studies, one actually says, “What is here that I am allowed to . . . to deal with?” Which is very different from editorializing or expanding on a particular given point of an argument. You are really looking to see, “What is the subtext here? What is the life that is waiting to be called into being here? And how will it use me, instead of how will I manipulate it or manufacture it to do my bidding?” That’s the hardest thing in preaching, being what an old English … used to call “servant of the Word”. We preachers who take our task seriously are literally servants of the Word. The Word is there. We are in the business of trying to find what it wants us, permits us, wills us to say. Which is why preachers at their best are always dependent upon that third, most mysterious member of the blessed and undivided Trinity, the Holy Spirit. And we’re supposed to be listening, and we’re not supposed to speak until we have heard what the … what it is we are meant to say.

If you come up with an easy solution to the text, you're probably close to the wrong thing.

Ethnic chauvinism: Why the whole world shouldn’t look like America

We are constantly trying to force the world to look like us — we need to move on.

Videos
  • When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, many Americans jumped for joy. At the time, some believed there weren't going to be any more political disagreements anywhere in the world. They thought American democracy had won the "war of ideas."
  • American exceptionalism has sought to create a world order that's really a mirror image of ourselves — a liberal world order founded on the DNA of American thinking. To many abroad this looks like ethnic chauvinism.
  • We need to move on from this way of thinking, and consider that sometimes "problem-solving," in global affairs, means the world makes us look like how it wants to be.
Keep reading Show less

Physicists find new state of matter that can supercharge technology

Scientists make an important discovery for the future of computing.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • Researchers find a new state of matter called "topological superconductivity".
  • The state can lead to important advancements in quantum computing.
  • Utilizing special particles that emerge during this state can lead to error-free data storage and blazing calculation speed.
Keep reading Show less

First solar roadway in France turned out to be a 'total disaster'

French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.

Image source: Charly Triballeau / AFP / Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • The French government initially invested in a rural solar roadway in 2016.
  • French newspapers report that the trial hasn't lived up to expectations.
  • Solar panel "paved" roadways are proving to be inefficient and too expensive.
Keep reading Show less