Totally off topic – what kind of hermeneutic?

On Friday, a very miserable young man found his way to my office, referred by one of the counsellors.

Can somebody please tell me how supposedly good Christian parents can disown and cut off all contact with their kind, caring, socially concerned, articulate, intelligent and generally pleasant son just because he happens to be gay? Just exactly what hermeneutical principle does one have to use to get this kind of understanding of Christian teaching?

I can understand how they’d be unhappy, I can understand (although I wouldn’t necessarily agree with their exegesis) why they might think he was not living an appropriate lifestyle for a Christian but . . . “you no longer exist for us”???? Where is the good news for this young man in their behaviour? Where is the modelling of the love and grace of God?

I find helping young people like him to see a different way of understanding God emotionally draining because they have been treated so badly by people who say that they serve a loving God. Of course, it’s far less emotionally draining than burying the ones who decide that living is all too much for them. Why can’t people learn to hold up interpretations of small bits of the Bible against the whole and ask “Did God really say that??”

Update 23 July:

I just discovered that WordPress has a tag called “hermeneutics” and that this post got linked to it. On this page, I found a post by Jay Guin called Interpreting the Bible: Big rocks go in first . In it, he says:

Find the great, overriding principles of the Bible, and never, ever vary from them.

The great, overriding principles are those that the Bible says are the great, overriding principles. The love of God, the gospel, our call to love others, and so forth.

I don’t know anything much about Guin, so we may disagree about what the great overriding principles of the Bible are, but clearly we agree about methodology!! 🙂


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