the end of words

Richard Lischer, in his book The End of Words,
has a chapter entitled Interpretation
and quotes Luke Timothy Johnson,
“If scripture is ever again to be a living source for theology,
those who practice theology
[and preach, I would suggest, and listen to preaching]
must become less preoccupied
with the world that produced scripture
and learn again how to live in a world scripture produces”
(Richard Lischer, The End of Words:
The Language of Reconciliation in a Culture of Violence

[Grand Rapids: Wm.B.Eerdmans, 2005] 52).

Scripture, of course, does not produce a world.
Scripture, maybe—hopefully,
shapes a people who produce a world.
But Johnson’s point on the direction in which we need to focus
is spot on.
The old old story is not one on which we look back,
but one that calls us into the future we’re producing.


Richard Lischer also writes:
“The religious reader is a slow reader.
If anything gets gutted in the reading,
it will be the interpreter, not the text.
The consumerist shines a flashlight on the text
and says, ‘Tell me all you know.’
The religious reader allows the light of the text
to illumine his or her own life”
(Lischer, 68).

In our consumer society,
we get that wrong—
a lot.


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