With fear and trembling, I preached my first sermon 54 years ago. With the same fear, more than 1,500 sermons followed. Those experiences taught me the danger of first choosing a message, then finding a biblical text to back it up.
Eisegesis is the technical term; reading in the idea I wanted to present.
Newspaper editors probably face the same danger, evident to me in Sundays editorial urging us to stop looking back, let go of the past and move on.
Coach Bill OBriens excellent words to his football team were set forth as good guidance for Penn State, alumni and the community. They were excellent words for a football team with only three weeks to become disciplined, effective and competitive. They have no time to worry about departed players or a lost history. They have to move on. The coach spoke wisely to his limited audience.
And he spoke strongly and well of our common task to remember and keep caring for those abused young boys.
But the larger community has larger tasks that will require looking back to heal other shattered lives, to consider reputations judged without benefit of presumed innocence or jury trials, to create a complete, open, accurate record of a tragic time no matter how painful the process.
Perhaps wed like to ignore the past, stop the appeals and move on. But is that a fools errand?
George Santayana wrote, Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
God forbid we make such a tragic mistake.
David A. Vogan Pleasant Gap