2. Our Story, Our Selves Part Two

1.7. Our story was once oral, and made fresh with each telling. Storytelling is intrinsically anarchic, creative, and liberating. Print is fixed, and when an oral story becomes trapped on a printed page the authority of the storyteller gives way to new authorities, often armed, terrifying, demanding, and life–smothering authorities.

1.8 To keep this from happening to our story we invented the art of deliberately misreading our story, helping the story say what we need and not what we are told. The ancient rabbis were masters of creative misreading, skilled at fueling the creative disruption at the heart of spiritual imagination.

1.9 They refused to be intimidated by print, and invented ways around the fixed page. The read words backwards and inside out. They replaced one set of vowels for another to cull new meanings from ancient letters. They replaced letters with numbers and saw numerical patterns in alphabetical form.

1.10 They claimed that God taught them how to do this; that God and God’s Word could not be forced into the limits of human grammar and old ways of thinking. That God wanted us not only to read but to misread, and misread boldly.

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