Bible stories have emerged from the rubble of the tornado that ravaged communities in central Oklahoma last week.
From the pages of Psalms plastered on a windshield to judgmental interpretations of Job, the stories were characterized as heavenly signs and insensitive statements.
The latest report with a biblical twist came from President Barack Obama's visit over the weekend to Moore, Okla., where seven children lost their lives when the twister flattened an elementary school.
The president briefly recalled a story that was aired by NBC-affiliate KFOR that told of a storm chaser who found a Bible amid the debris of a home. The chaser shot video of the book that was opened to a passage in the Old Testament book of Isaiah, chapter 32, which reads, ”A man will be as a hiding place from the wind, and a cover from the tempest.”
“The Lord must be with us, I guess,” Gage Ross, who came across the same Bible while helping clean up the mess, told the news station.
Obama said during his visit with residents of Moore that he was touched by the story and, according to the Christian Post, he offered an interpretation of the scriptural passage:
"And it's a reminder, as scripture often is, that God has a plan, and it's important, though, that we also recognize we're an instrument of his will," Obama said. "And we need to know that as fellow Americans, we're going to be there as shelter from the storm for the people of Moore who have been impacted."
Get Religion's Joe Carter chided the press for not digging into whether Obama's interpretation was accurate or "if the president really believes what he said."
Carter offered a pair of 16th and 18th century interpretations by Protestant theologians John Calvin and John Wesley, which say the verses mean that good government will protect the people from evil. Carter then asks whether Obama has the same understanding.
"The media doesn’t seem to understand what the passage means — believing it to be shelter from a natural storm — and probably assumes that Obama shares their misinterpretation. Perhaps President Obama (and his speechwriter) have indeed misunderstood Isaiah’s meaning.
"But what if he didn’t? What if he clearly understood the context? What then should we make of his speech? Was it a throwaway line or is it revelatory of President Obama’s theological understanding of theodicy and his role as chief executive?
"Historians may someday seek answers to those questions and be dismayed that there were no biblically literate and enterprising journalists around in 2013 to ask."
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