It is late at night, you come home to a dark house alone, lightning is flashing, thunder is booming, you are trembling. You light a candle because the electricity is out, and you notice under the dim flickering of the small flame, a letter sitting on the on the counter; it is addressed to you. The name on the return address is "Tony Ragu;" your old childhood friend, and he happens to also be the small loan officer at the local bank.
"Oh no," you wonder,"I must be in trouble?"
A loud crash is heard near your back window, the winds are picking up, the storm is getting close. With a slow tearing of the envelope's seal, you apprehensively open the contents of the letter -- as a soft singular beam of light shines, you see written in bold strokes, "...I'm Gonna Kill You..." The letter drops from your limp hand, beads of sweat form on the back of your neck, you tell yourself in an instance,"I must get away....make a run for it...no time to lose."
With fear driving you, you get back into your car, braving the storm, you head to Mexico!
The next day your friends begin to worry: you were a no show at work, you skipped the annual morel mushroom hunt, and you haven't "Instagrammed" for 12 hours? Something most definitely is wrong! They rush to your silent house, and they notice the front door is left unlocked? No one is home, all they find is a lonely letter thrown to the floor. It reads...
"Dear Old Friend,
It was so good to see you after all these years. I miss our talks, our games of Yahtzee; I miss the hamburgers with fried morels. I was hoping since I took the new bank job in town we could spend more time together. Remember when you borrowed my favorite white sweater and spilled grape juice all over it? It was hilarious how I told you,"I'm Gonna Kill You," in my best impression of Al Pacino and you wouldn't stop laughing? I miss those days! Anyhow, hope you have a wonderful day, and if you need a loan the rates are really low!
See Ya Soon,
Mr. Ragu (remember...you said it reminded you of Magoo.)"
"That's weird, A nice note and no sign of trouble?" Your friends leave puzzled...meanwhile, being driven by stage one paranoia you join a drug cartel, change your name to Ceaser Chavez the Third and you are never heard from again.
All because you didn't know how to properly read!
John Piper in his book "Think," says in order to have a coherent worldview that is properly rooted in the Bible, you need to work hard to understand what an author intends to communicate. He calls this the golden rule of reading, "Do unto AUTHORS as you would have them do unto you!" He says authors, both Biblical & Non-Biblical, want to be understood, not misunderstood. Sadly, most error in life and religion comes from people reading their own ideas into what is written or said.
Did I encourage unbridled drinking in my sermon and post two weeks ago? Some people think I did. Does Jesus allow you to believe whatever you want when he makes statements about, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me?" Is it O.K. when deconstructionist philosophers & cool church leaders decide to change orthodox interpretations of scriptures and doctrines because they have a "refreshingly new take" on Biblical passages? Are they really trying their best to understand authors intent, or are they responding to their superb intuitive instincts that sometimes have nothing to do with reality?
I would rather be seen as boring, standing on thousands of years of well developed teaching than having my cool fashionably dyed-hair blowing in the new breeze of progressive post-modern theory.
In the same way I would rather be sitting with Tony Ragu eating a hamburger topped with morels, than brandishing a semi-automatic hiding in Tijuana