Denominational Hermeneutics

Clergy/Leaders' Mail-list No. 437

How would the Uniting Church deal with "the cat sat on the mat" if it appeared in the Bible?

The liberal theologians would point out that such a passage did not of course mean that the cat literally sat on the mat. Also, cat and mat had different meanings in those days from today, and anyway, the text should be interpreted according to the customs and practices of the period.

This would lead to an immediate backlash from the Evangelicals. They would make an essential condition of faith that a real physical, living cat,being a domestic pet of the Felix Domesticus species, and having a whiskered head and furry body, four legs and a tail, did physically place its whole body on a floor covering, designed for that purpose, and which is on the floor but not of the floor. The expression "on the floor but not of the floor" would be explained in a leaflet.

Meanwhile, the Catholics would have developed the Festival of the Sedentation of the Blessed Cat. This would teach that the cat was white and majestically reclined on a mat of gold thread before its assumption to the Great Cat Basket of Heaven. This is commemorated by the singing of the Magnificat, lighting three candles, and ringing a bell five times. This would cause a schism with the Orthodox Church which believes tradition requires Holy Cats Day [as it is colloquially known], to be marked by lighting six candles and ringing the bell four times. This would partly be resolved by the Cuckoo Land Declaration recognising the traditional validity of each.

Eventually, the House of Bishops would issue a statement on the Doctrine of the Feline Sedentation. It would explain, traditionally the text describes a domestic feline quadruped superjacent to an unattached covering on a fundamental surface. For determining its salvific and eschatological significations, we follow the heuristic analytical principles adopted in dealing with the Canine Fenestration Question [How much is that doggie in the window?] and the Affirmative Musaceous Paradox [Yes, we have no bananas]. And so on, for another 210 pages.

The General Synod would then commend this report as helpful resource material for clergy to explain to the man in the pew the difficult doctrine of the cat sat on the mat.

     Shalom!  Rowland Croucher

     Director, John Mark Ministries - resources for pastors/leaders.
       (Bookroom, library, and worldwide F.W.Boreham Trading Post)
      Home Page: (400 articles now)

    Thought for today: God is the denial of denial (Meister Eckhart)

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