Actions Speak Clearer Than Words

I did my apprenticeship with the “late” Mount Isa Mines Ltd. They have since been taken over by Xstrata but in the good ol’ days it was Mount Isa Mines.

When my apprenticeship was over I received a tool kit to replace the one that I had used during my training. The major difference with the new kit was that rather than being engraved Tapman, all of the tools were engraved with “ISA MINE”. This was great because I now didn’t have to worry about losing my own tools.

There was a story going around, probably not true…..but legend had it that there was once a tradesman called Frank. He was of Italian heritage. His wife Maria and his three children came over on a ship in the sixties, with the hope of finding a new life. Frank worked at the Main Workshops which was a huge shed on the northern edge of town. The largest section was a Boiler Makers shop, the rest was shared by Electricians and Fitter/Turners. The largest lathe in the southern hemisphere was among some of the work equipment housed in this large industrial workshop.

Despite the fact that everyone had to walk through a security gate when entering or exiting, a lot of stuff was going missing. You could understand that a certain amount of hand tools would go missing but also big things like three phase pumps,pneumatic pumps and eventually even a lathe just disappeared.  Frank was behind all these mysterious disappearances. He had an extra large workshop at the back of his house that was slowly filling up with heavy industrial tools and equipment. Maria was totally unaware of the stash hidden on their property, so when the police arrived at the doorstep and opened the double doors to the shed, Maria turned towards Frank with fire in her dark eyes!  Without missing a beat Frank picked up one of the engraved spanners and said in his strong Italian accent: “It’s OK Maria looka here, the engraving ita says “Isa Mine”

By writing this story I am hoping to highlight something about words – yes even the words in the Bible. Words can be misunderstood, they can even be purposely twisted  – like Frank did. The point is, it is extremely important to recognize the fact that we all carry things that will influence how we will understand scripture. Our heritage, where we are born, our prejudices, our age…..many things will affect how we interpret what we are reading. I first read about his when I was a teenager with a keen interest in theology. When I started reading about hermeneutics – apart from being way over my head – I actually got frightened. How can we have faith? How can I believe anything? It all seemed too complicated!

Thirty years on I am not so scared – I still think the Bible contains words of life but am not afraid to admit that interpretation is a problem – approaching scripture takes a certain amount of humility and honesty.

I  repeat:  We all need to embrace the “bigot within” and recognize that sometimes our pre-conceived ideas, prejudices etc influence us as we read the Bible. Once we face our fears We can have confidence in exploring the Bible and questioning even long held beliefs – because one thing the bible clearly points to is the work that Jesus done for us on the cross. Actions speak clearer than words.

This was going to be my main point in this post – and I think it still is – scripture always points to Christ. But on reflecting on the story of Frank I notice that his twisting of words was used to justify his theft – This is an interesting point because that is precisely what I get accused of on a regular basis. Lets think about this for a moment – who has more to lose, who is more likely to fight to the end regardless of what the facts say. Just as an example lets look at the creationists that insist that the earth was created in six days. For them this is a matter worth dying for, the trustworthiness/ inerrancy of scripture rests on this fact. They will look you in the eye and say: “look it clearly says ‘isa mine’ ” despite all the facts……just like Frank. Lets face it, we are talking legal jargon here, what other precedents do we have of Christians taking scripture to a literal translation and coming out looking silly? Hmmm don’t you think that on precedent alone we have to suspect that once again Frank, sorry I mean the church is desperately trying to justify itself with wording in scripture.

I would bet on it, wouldn’t you?

I hear many Christians say : “I love Gay people” but again, we really have to say: Actions speak louder than words

4 Responses to “Actions Speak Clearer Than Words”
  1. lcamyopinion says:

    Thanks for this. One point of disagreement. you said…

    …sometimes our pre-conceived ideas, prejudices etc influence us as we read the Bible.

    The truth is… ALWAYS our preconceived ideas, prejudices influence us as we read. Its not a matter of getting rid of of our prejudices and preconceptions (although that would be nice). It is a matter of being aware of them and being honest with ourselves about the way they influence us.

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