Skip to main content

Thoughtful Thursday: Observation, Interpretation, Application

On Thursday nights, I have a "Small Group Community" with my church. About fifteen of us get together to discuss Sunday's sermon, laugh, and pray together. I am glad it's a part of my life.

Tonight, I asked a question about the text (1 Samuel 5), and challenged people to stick specifically to observing. Often we jump ahead to interpreting and applying before we've given a thorough look at the facts we're examining.

As I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, I thought about the week I just spent visiting Toronto and Montreal, exploring some potential options for change in my life. I spent most of my time observing, taking it all in and processing the data in front of me.

I've been trying to apply my thoughts and make a decision for awhile now. I want to know the next steps for my life, what kind of changes are coming down the chute and how I can prepare myself for them. Every new observation I have leads to six possible interpretations of its significance. This is tiring.

A friend asked me at an art show after small group if I have made up my mind. I laughed, and said it's only been 24 hours since I got home, and he laughed and said, "Yeah, twenty-four whole hours. That's enough time to decide!"

But the reality is that observation takes time, and if you jump into interpretation prematurely, then you're likely to make a wrong application.

So I'm just going to keep observing until I've nothing left to notice.


MLW said…
Thanks for sharing those three steps. I never thought of them as being essential in that order in the understanding process. As I think about it I realize I have been doing that to some extent and did not realize it. As always I enjoyed reading what you shared.

Popular posts from this blog

What About Travis!?

I just watched Hope Floats, the second movie in my I-really-need-to-vegetate night. Now that we have more than three channels, there are so many quality programs on TV! Like movies in the middle of the week. I enjoyed many of the lines in this movie, including:

"I went home and told my mama you had a seizure in my mouth."
(referring to her first french-kissing experience)

"Dancing's just a conversation between two people. Talk to me."
(the conversation in our living room then went,
Girl 1: Only Harry Connick Jr. could say that line without it being incredibly cheezy.
Boy: Without it being cheezy? That's all I heard. Cheez, cheez, cheez.
Girl 2: Yeah, but it was sexy, sexy cheez...sigh.)
"Better do what she says, Travis. Grandma stuffs little dogs."

Bernice: At home we had a pet skunk. Mama used to call it Justin Matisse. Do you think that's just a coincidence? All day long she would scream, "You stink Justin Matisse!" Then one day she just…

Fostering FAQ: What's Her (Mom's) Story?

This is probably the second most common question I hear about the baby currently in our care, right after, "Will you keep her?"

It comes in many forms:

"So, what's her story?"
"Is her mom in the picture?"
"How did she end up in your home?
"Is her mom a drug addict?"
"How could a mom not love such a cute baby!"

I get it. It's natural curiousity, and I know I've asked similar questions of my friends who are adoptive parents.

But here's what I'm learning: a child's story is their own. And equally as important, the parent's story is their own.

Imagine how it might feel to hear that for the foreseeable future, you are not allowed to care for your child. On top of whatever difficult circumstances you are already in - perhaps poverty, social isolation, lack of adequate housing, domestic violence, intergenerational trauma, drug or alcohol dependency, low cognitive functioning, or a myriad of other complex strug…

Simone Weil: On "Forms of the Implicit Love of God"

Simone Weil time again! One of the essays in Waiting for God is entitled "Forms of the Implicit Love of God." Her main argument is that before a soul has "direct contact" with God, there are three types of love that are implicitly the love of God, though they seem to have a different explicit object. That is, in loving X, you are really loving Y. (in this case, Y = God). As for the X of the equation, she lists:

Love of neighbor Love of the beauty of the world Love of religious practices and a special sidebar to Friendship
“Each has the virtue of a sacrament,” she writes. Each of these loves is something to be respected, honoured, and understood both symbolically and concretely. On each page of this essay, I found myself underlining profound, challenging, and thought-provoking words. There's so much to consider that I've gone back several times, mulling it over and wondering how my life would look if I truly believed even half of these things...

Here are a few …