Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Welcome to my Blog!

This is a blog about the Bible - how we read it, how we think about it, how we cope with it in all its mixed-up reality, what it means in today's world. It is also about preaching, and may stray into more general concerns about Christian faith and spirituality.

I hope it will attract comments about my recently published book, "Let the Bible be Itself". The title, I must confess, was an inspiration fairly late in the production process, but I feel it is an ideal expression of my central concern about the Bible. Some people think of the Bible as a dead, static collection of "divine" oracles. Others distort its meaning by enslaving it to one traditional interpretation, the "Evangelical" or the "Catholic" one, and either ignore or twist the bits that don't fit in. Some "liberals" try to pretend it says what they want to hear, and conveniently ignore the fact that much of the Bible is not liberal or humane at all but cruel, militaristic, patriarchal and at times racist.

Why don't we stop trying to create a Bible in our own image, and just let it be what it is - a huge, marvellous jumble of human stories, dreams and ideas that somehow relate to the human experience of God, and especially of the God known by Jews and Christians? Sometimes it makes us what to say "Amen". Sometimes it comforts us. Sometimes it challenges us. Sometimes it puzzles us, annoys us, or puts us off religion altogether. But there is no point in pretending it is something other than what it is. I believe that the best way we can appreciate the Bible, and be inspired by it, is by reacting naturally to it, coming as ourselves to the Bible as itself.

I want to explore, and discuss with you readers (if any!) what will be the shape of biblical interpretation along these lines. So - comments please!

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