Biblical Hermeneutics is a great SE site which has benefited many and will continue to do so. I have noticed, however, that a lot of energy is expended on trying to educate people about the true mission of the site and what hermeneutics really is. Many first time users post questions about the Bible which get flagged as off-topic, and many answers fall outside of the intended scope of the site which creates a lot of extra work for moderators and editors, and creates confusion about the true purpose here. From what I have observed from the editing queues, the problem has been increasing lately.
It has occurred to me that a possible solution for this would be to create a site that would be more suited for the questions that get rejected here and at the sister site, which would address people’s interest in more specifically practical applications of scripture to their daily lives. For example, a question like,
“What does it mean for a believer to take up their cross daily and follow Christ?”
would probably get closed on this site and on Christianity SE, as well, for not meeting statement of purpose criteria. I think a lot of people are interested in the practical application of scripture without wanting or being qualified to engage academically with a passage or approach it from the standpoint of a particular denomination.
There have been some concerns expressed on the site about sermonizing and our new moderator recently cautioned a new user about being too preachy, while recognizing that he himself has not been immune to the temptation. A user named Dan, in his answer to the following question,
made this suggestion:
“We can describe the original author's intent, even passionately—but we must not cross the line into preaching to BH.SE readers.”
There was just recently an involved discussion on Meta about whether a particular question should by closed, migrated, or modified. This looks like a well-masked theological question I think the right action was taken and the community seemed to be in strong agreement. The question would not have been appropriate for the sister site, and it wouldn’t be for the new proposed site either. But I have seen some questions migrated from one site that were then challenged as being appropriate at the new one.
The following question was recently migrated to Christianity SE.
"Scriptural support - Measuring our salvation, God's love and blessings". https://christianity.stackexchange.com/q/86716/54851
Technically it wasn't the best fit over there either because, for one, it doesn’t specify a particular denominational perspective. It could however be appropriate for the new site because it has a practical application raising questions like,
“Why would we be seeking the wealth of the world when the wealth of heaven is ours?”
I believe there would be a healthy demand for a site that would even welcome “sermons” that address the practical application of the Bible to daily living as long as they are well-reasoned and biblically supported. A possible description for the new site could be Biblical Homiletics, but a more universally appealing one might be better received. Other suggestions are welcome.
I believe that a site like that would expand the influence of the study of the Bible and Christianity because people would be able to ask more practical questions relevant to their daily lives that might get rejected on the current sites. It would also reduce the need for so much housekeeping - so a win-win solution. Bible Hermeneutics will be able to more fully devote itself to academic exegesis which was the original intent of the site.
I have even recently heard people lamenting the “good old days” when academic rigor was more prevalent on the site. People who are more attracted to understanding how to apply the Bible to their lives today will post on the alternative site and not bother to post borderline off-topic or more general, pragmatic questions on BH.
It’s just an idea I had that seems worth exploring and I would love to hear your feedback. Thanks!