This other example is much more minor, but also fed my frustration with my meeting docket on Sunday. I'm feeling much less maligned by my ward today than I was yesterday. Because, apparently, my friends agree that it was lame. That's enough for me.
First of all, my ward has this great Sunday School teacher. He presents intelligently designed questions and troubles a lot of simple intrepretations that people give. He's not afraid of paradox or of bringing in non-LDS perspectives to bear on the lessons. For example, he started out his latest lesson by saying, "I recently watched the film version of Camelot. In it, there's this line 'the tormented quest for perfection'. What other examples do you guys know from literature or art or film that highlight the tormented quest for perfection?" This lead to summaries of GATTACA, an anime series, a group of WWII novels about a gunner and Martin Dressler (my contribution). He then goes into the lesson material, which focused on how, through the atonement of Christ, we can have a quest for perfection that is not only tormented. This is the sort of thing I like.
So, we're discussing Isaiah 52.7:
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"
The discussion is pretty interesting and is going in all sorts of directions. People suggest that mountains are symbolic of holy places, that mountains provide perspective, that you cannot be a watchman on a plain and so on. Good stuff that highlight various meanings of the word choice. Then we talk about the feet and how feet are the humblest piece of man, but they're also the active component, that publishing peace is hard work and so on. I'm not sure I agree with these as reasons for Isaiah using them, but it's keeping the ball rolling.
One guy raises his hand and says, "We're missing the point. This verse is simple. It means stand in holy places. That's it."
The teacher is a little thrown off by this simplistic approach. The guy's tone of voice suggested that the rest of us were stupid for even suggesting that alternate readings were possible, let alone valuable. The teacher's response was, "well, then why didn't Isaiah just say that?"
Dude came back with the canned response, "scripture is given in parable so that only the in-tune understand and so you can learn more by each reading." Isn't this amazing? He failed to realize that his memorized response contradicted his previous comment. Astounding, really.
The teacher showed his politic side and moved on to another aspect of the lesson. I feel my rant from yesterday explains my frustrations.