It really is amazing what we think we can tell from a headline alone! The governor of another state was embarrassed recently when he responded on Twitter to a headline about a country music star getting boo’d off of the stage at music festival. The governor responded quickly by rallying his electoral base to lambast the araise and uphold his party’s values. There was only one problem: the headline, as well as the entire article, were a fabrication. None of it was true! Had he read a little further, the satirical nature of the article would have been plain! That’s the power of scrolling quickly through headlines without doing the work and digging a little deeper.
We do the same kind of thing with bible stories as well. We read section titles or the first line of a story and think ‘I’ve already read that story and heard it a thousand times, so I’m going to skim it and get to something new and more powerful!’ Some of the best known stories in scripture are the least read stories because of this phenomenon! We heard the stories as children, or from somewhere in our culture and put a mental check mark by it as though we’ve already plumbed the depths of its content and have gleaned all worthwhile meaning from it. Unfortunately when we learn a story as children and forget to revisit it as adults, we run the risk of understanding a version of the story that is only kind of true.
For the next several weeks, we’re going to look with fresh eyes and listen with new ears to stories that we may have heard a hundred times: Jericho, David and Goliath, Christmas and Zacchaeus. Perhaps we’re only familiar with a true-ish version of these stories, and perhaps God has something new to say through these ancient stories.