A reader writes: All interpretation is ethical

A reader writes:

I’ve been meaning to write you to say a BIG THANKS for your excellent book, Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammad Cross the Road? My wife and I are active worshippers and partners in [a church] where you spoke a couple of months ago. We were absent that Sunday but some good friends of ours were present and bought and brought me a copy of your book later that week saying, “Brian sounds a lot like you! We think you’ll enjoy his new book!”
Indeed I find your book not only elegantly written but astonishingly important for contemporary Christians, as well as for those of other faith traditions. It is the very best book I’ve read on Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World, and I’ve been giving gift-copies to family, to friends, and to faculty among whom I now serve in the context of secular higher education. Thank you for many precious insights about creating a “strong-benevolent” Christian identity, doctrine as “healing instruments” rather than instruments of coercion or violence, subversive friendships, reforming liturgy, witness and evangelism as going together to a new place neither of us has been before, and the vision of a new world where people of peace and good faith are honoring our differences and yet joining together to work and pray for the common good. Thank you for boldly writing about Rene Girard’s insights about religious violence and scapegoating, and for naming “hermeneutics” as crucial (“all interpretation is ethical”)–though I can’t find the chapter/page reference at the moment, you are the first author writing to a potentially wide audience that addresses basic issues in hermeneutics. Thank you for giving voice to the issues and concerns so many of us share as followers of Jesus, and for your voice of honesty about so much that troubles us, and yet your voice of hope and new possibility. Through your writing, you are for me a rare kindred spirit, and this is a precious gift indeed.

Thanks for these encouraging words. Encouragement about Cross the Road is helping me as I’m deep into work on my next project. Glad for a kindred spirit – especially one who understands how important interpretation is.