So let me start our by saying that the death of Trayvon is a tragedy in everyway. There is no way to fully justify the event itself or the following actions… So much has been said about this and much of it has been horrific and much has been brilliantly insightful.
However my take on this is that we need to drill down to why this has gone so wrong in relation to the peoples reaction. This really isn’t a issue of race, or age, or a “stand your ground law”; This is an issue of context and the ability to interpret the facts according to the appropriate context. As I’ve interacted with people through this process I can’t help but be amazing that people havebecome accustomed to being spoon fed, that their ability to interpret the facts or events are all but gone. Here is what I mean, much of what brings this social tension is that Trayvon was 17 years of age. We have all heard a thousand times that “this child was gunned down”… okay lets be honest, Although Trayvon was only a young man and he had his entire life ahead of him, and yes he had parents (so technically he is a child of his parents). He was of the age where he could have enlisted into the armed forces and served his country, in addition had he robbed a bank on that day he would have almost certainly been tried as an adult. Being called a child by some is just seeking to stir up the hearts of those that could easily swayed. So many have a predetermined opinion of what the results should have been based on their favorite TV personalities commentary. Yet how many care enough to study the facts or for that matter know how to study the facts and then place them into the proper context.
Consider this, If I was to walk up to one of my pastoral acquaintances and I was to say that I was reading the bible and I came to the conclusion that men are superior to women… They would give me a very strange look and say what is your hermeneutic? In other words what are the rules and methods that I view the text in order to come to the conclusion? They wouldn’t try to argue that women are equal or superior to men. They would seek to correct my hermeneutic, which would correct my view on the value of men and women. Today people argue about commentary and conclusions because most don’t know how to assess the information themselves.
I think most of the issues that we find bringing social division could be traced back to an lack of hermeneutical perspective. When people ask me a question about a biblical passage I alway try to help them in finding the answer as opposed to giving them the answer. What was going on at that time historically? What were some of the cultural challenges that were being addressed? Who was the authors audience and what was there experience up to that point? Was the author addressing a specific issue from a prior letter? The list could go on and on and on. But ultimately I am seeking to help these seeker understand some of the proper questions that they need to address in order to properly understand the text.
The rules that I have learned that have helped me in studying the the Bible have benefited me in every aspect of life. Not only in the aspects of faith but in teaching me to be critical thinker and problem solver. I don’t want to over simplify the issue, but what if pastors started digging a little deeper and slowed down in their teaching to show their congregations how to exegete the texts? We might be closer to creating a generation that will be able to help their fellow man in maneuvering the next social / cultural crisis