Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Literal interpretation -- my trip to Redbox

Today I had to go to Kroger to pick up some kitchen supplies. A co-worker asked if I would return a DVD to Redbox (they have a kiosk at the entrance). That seemed simple enough, so I readily agreed. 

Not so simple...

Call me old-fashioned, call me a dinosaur, or call me just plain stupid. I've never used Redbox. In case my abilities to explain are also deficient -- or you are a dinosaur as well -- I have inserted an illustration of a Redbox kiosk to the left.  On the kiosk  in the middle at the extreme right side is a slot to insert returns. To its left is a large screen. The only difference from the picture is that in reality the kiosk at Kroger had a curtain covering the screen with the words, "Lift here to rent." Well, I'm not renting anything, so...

So I stick the DVD in the slot and nothing happens. I push on it but it won't inch forward. I force it a little harder; still nothing. I think perhaps I'll need to get a mallet and drive it in the slot! A lady walks by and explains that you have to hold it there briefly and then it will accept it and automatically slide in. OK. Only nothing happens. She asks whether I pushed the "return" button -- which I didn't and did not even see anywhere. Guess what? Lift the curtain that says "rent" and underneath you'll find an icon on the screen that says "return". Push it. Stick the DVD in the slot, and voila! Returned!

Later I thought about this and wondered if at times I force a similar stubborn literalness on my interpretation of the Bible?? Don't get me wrong. I believe in literal interpretation. Words must be taken at their meaning. But the "literal meaning" at times may actually be figurative. Sometimes we're trying to force something into the Bible that might be much simpler if we'd just let it be.

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