1. Thoughtful Christians are embarrassed by those who pretend to be able to read the signs of the times. The simplistic analysis that attributes this tornado to the passage of that piece of tax legislation really is embarrassing. But the presence of people doing it wrong is no basis for a refusal to do it right.
2. As a result, Christians have passed over those passages that assume that understanding the times is possible and desirable (e.g. 1 Chron. 12:32; Matt. 16:3). In some cases, they even reverse the meaning of the passage (Luke 13:1-5). Jesus there rebukes the people for reading the sign of Siloam wrongly, telling them that they ought to have read that sign rightly, and we serenely assume that we are not supposed to read anything at all.
3. And last, we fail in this area because we don’t understand story and narrative. We read wrongly and refuse to read at all for the same reason — we don’t get the narrative arc. And we don’t get the narrative arc because we treat the Bible as a repository of doctrines instead of a glorious story. Certain doctrines must be derived from the story, true enough, but the story is not a carton we get to throw away after that.