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Celestial Objectivity

There is today a general religious bias toward a galloping subjectivity. But our first obligation to a text is to let it hang there in celestial objectivity--not to ask what it means "to us". A good sermon or a good teaching job must begin with angelic objectivity.

There's something in the mood of our culture that hates that. We want to hurry up and get to what something means to the individual. But this notion presents a serious danger for the true meaning of any important text--biblical, literary, or otherwise. The text had a particular meaning before I saw it, and it will continue to mean that after I have seen it. It expresses an intention that is meant to be heard by all, not interpreted according to any one individual's preferences or biases.

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