Last month I read Mountains Behind Mountains by Tracy Kidder. It is part biography (of Paul Farmer), part social commentary on fighting disease among the poor (especially TB), and part a good swift kick in the pants. Like the boy scouts, we can all leave our neck of the woods better than we found it.
What will stick with me long after Paul Farmer fades is his H of G.
Yeah, that’s what I thought. His what? Tracy was asking Paul if he was doing something basically to earn merit or was he trying to cheat to get merit.
“Depends of whether of not you have an H of G for the endeavor,” he said, without looking up.
“An H of G” was short for a “hermeneutic of generosity,” which he defined once for me in an e-mail: “I have a hermeneutic of generosity for you because I know you are a good guy. Therefore I will interpret what you say and do in a favorable light.
Hermeneutic of Generosity might be a bit of a mouth full, but it’s made me look at my own hermeneutic of interpreting other’s words and deeds.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not wise of approach every person and situation with an H of G; but how about most?
I like the idea of having an H of G as a primary setting for those close to me instead of an H of S or D (suspicion or doubt). Helps me to roll with the normal bumps of that come with being sinful and responding sinfully, infusing grace into my thoughts and interactions.
Does an H of G come easy to you?
Some days yes and some days no. Thankfully it is most days of yes. :)
Jim Habib says
I agree with the, “some days yes and some days no” comment you made. When I read the first sentence I guessed that “H of G” meant “Heart of God” although after reading on I could see a bit more clearly what was probably meant.