A Hermeneutic of Shrew-Taming

David S. Cunningham

Article Type: Article

Publication Date: 7/1/1990

Issue: Church Talk: Slogans and Shibboleths (Vol. 10, No 3, Summer, 1990)

We experience the public and practical aspect of interpretation in concert halls and theatres, in schools and churches. In these public forums, we encounter conductors, directors, teachers, and ministers—all of whom try to create a context in which human beings can think, communicate, and act. This is often a difficult task, because the audience may not always be willing to listen. Conductors find concert-goers resistant to atonal music, and high school students remain unconvinced of the relevance of learning Latin. Matters are no different for the church; from early on, audiences found certain aspects of the faith quite troublesome. “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” (John 6:60). Nevertheless, if we remain committed to the preaching of the gospel, we must help others learn how to listen. To discover how to do so, we should pay heed to the ways in which other interpreters are presenting their own “hard sayings” to increasingly skeptical audiences.

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