Phyllis Ryder (pryder@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU)
Wed, 7 Aug 1996 11:23:09 -0700

On Wed, 7 Aug 1996, Michael Hamende wrote:

> I think it depend on how you define rhetoric. If the interpretation
> of which you speak is the result of study, honest dialogue and
> exchange, and considering the context, etc, etc, (all the issues
> involved in complete rhetoric) then sure I'll bite, that's rhetorical.
> But not all of the faithful operate this way. I guess I've not come
> across very many christians who do, particularly in my travels in the
> Bible Belt. In my limited experience its more like people being told
> what and how to think based on the interpretation of the white, male
> preacher. The one true interpretation. Like the modernist approach
> to literature. Someone unknown to you, way over there in some exalted
> position and place, decides for you what something means and
> pontificates that to you and then tells you you will go to hell if you
> ask any questions. Hmmm, that ain't the rhetoric I know and love.

OK, I can see that. My experience with church has been following my
mother through the line to shake hands with the pastor and having her
say, "Well Reverend, I'm not sure I agree with your interpretation of
Job. . ." and engaging in a discussion from there. I admit that's
probably not the way that it happens everywhere, but I do think there are
many churches around that encourage this kind of personal engagement,
reflection, and struggle. I didn't want them to get left out of the
picture--or for us to too easily assume that our students are from one or
the other school of religion just because they take on religious topics.