Yesterday I asked a group of high school students what they thought was the greatest song ever written. After they gave all their wrong answers, I shared the only correct response: “Miss American Pie” written by Don McLean. In a fraction of a second I realized most of them had never heard the song.
I shared with them my understanding of the lyrics. They looked at me in confusion when I told them the song was a brief history of rock and roll. With a sigh I explained that the “day the music died” pointed back to the 1959 plane crash that killed music heart throbs Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper. More blank stares. Warming up to the subject, I told them that Janis Joplin was probably the “girl who sang the blues” and Bob Dylan was the jester who stole the crown from the King. Who was the King? Elvis who dominated music until Dylan arrived.
The song was written in 1971 but in just 52 years this new generation lost the ability to interpret the meaning of the song.
Do you see where I’m going? We are now about 3500 years removed from the writing of the earliest book in the Bible. It’s time to admit our understanding of the biblical texts is often far from certain. Since our understanding of the biblical text is elusive, we ought to be careful imposing our understanding of the text upon others.
Here’s some sobering news for those who think the Bible is their sword of truth. Your understanding of the text isn’t infallible. You might be wrong when you declare, “The Bible says…” And if the possibility of error exists, then all of us should be cautious how we wield the Sword. Instead of beating our chests like undefeated UFC champions, we ought to admit our view of a Bible verse might be wrong.
Please stop hollering that “According to the Bible” all members of the LGBTQ+ community are going to hell.
Please stop thinking you have the only true interpretation of scripture.
Please stop clobbering with the clobber verses.
Please start exhibiting more love and compassion than disdain and division.
To ignore this warning is to usher in “the day the music” will die in the church. And if that happens, these prophetic lines from Don McLean’s iconic song will come true:
“And the three men I admire most The Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost.
They caught the last train for the coast.
The day the music died.”
Great post. Thanks Randy for connecting the dots. I hope some of your students will go on YouTube and look up Miss American Pie.