Once again my favorite Irish poet for the win for thought-provoking statement of the day.
Oh, did I tell you Padraig O'Tuama is gay?
That's because ... who cares if he is?
Here's what he said in my reading this morning:
The suspicion I have is that if the way you read the [biblical] text leads you to hate, then you are not reading the text properly.
Augustine of Hippo, a man about whom much can be said, put it more elegantly:
'Whoever, then, thinks that he understands the Holy Scriptures, or any part of them, but puts such an interpretation upon them as does not tend to build up this twofold love of God and our neighbour, does not yet understand them as he ought.'(Padraig O'Tuama, In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World)
This is - I think - the most important lens we can bring to our reading of the Bible.
Does my reading of this text lead me toward love or hate of my neighbor?
Those who are different from me?
The poor? The disenfranchised? The widow, the orphan, the fatherless, the immigrant?
If so ...
We are simply not reading the Scriptures properly.
Or to quote Augustine - we "do not yet understand them as we ought."