Frederick Buechner on Scripture

when a minister reads out of the Bible, i am sure that at least nine times out of ten the people who happen to be listening at all hear not what is really being read but only what they expect to hear read. and i think that what most people expect to hear read from the Bible is an edifying story, an uplifting thought, a moral lesson—something elevating, obvious, and boring. so that is exactly what very often they do hear. only that is too bad because if you really listen—and maybe you have to forget that it is the Bible being read and a minister who is reading it—there is no telling what you might hear.

frederick buechner, a sermon entitled “the magnificent defeat” (1959)