What is Playful Reading?

I’m not sure what Playful Reading is going to be. At the moment, it is place to play with the text, a place where I’m allowed to be wrong – indeed, a place where I am frequently deliberately wrong.

Wrong, in the sense that play is wrong. When my daughter tells me that “Racci” (her stuffed toy Raccoon – she’s pretty obvious in her naming conventions) wants to say something, she’s wrong. Her stuffed toy is just a stuffed toy. But that’s play. You’re allowed to be wrong when you’re playing. In fact, you’re required to be wrong, in order to do it right.

When we play, we explore. We allow ourselves to step outside of the orthodoxy of reality, to imagine alternative realities, alternative histories, alternatives to who we are. The only rules are the ones that we choose for ourselves (and those rules are somehow simultaneously absolutely rigorous and infinitely flexible). Play opens up new avenues of thought and imagination, new ways of seeing the world, new senses of what might be possible, and those gifts we bring back with us into the so-called real world.

So when I read a passage of scripture, and think, “I’m sure that’s not what it means, but…”, I want to be allowed to play. I want to be allowed to say “…but suppose it did. What would they do? Where might that go?”. It’s not exegesis, it’s not going to form the basis of doctrine and practice. But it just might open up the story in a new way.

So that’s what I’m going to do here. Play with the words, the story. Play with puns and deliberate misunderstandings and speculation about things left unsaid. If you happen to find this site, and read it, enjoy. Play along. Just don’t take it seriously.

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