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Hallo again to all.

Everyone is expecting us to have something profound to say in this space today, perhaps to summarise the church's status as the focus of last week's Western media attention.

In our opinion, too much has already been said, and in general people stopped listening to one another quite some time ago. It is not a time for saying things, it is a time for quiet and contemplative prayer.

The Grenville copy of the Gutenberg Bible in the British Library
Anglicans Online has lost the readership of people who are absolutely certain that they are right, so we are confident that the majority of our postapocalyptic readership are willing to agree with us that there are no simple answers to the complex issues raised these past months. By our count, there are more references in the Vulgate or KJV to unicorns than to fornicators or homosexuals, but hundreds of references to love and honour. And we note that all the world's theological colleges and seminaries have courses on how to read the Bible properly; if it were as crystal clear as some would say, then why are those courses being taught? Why is it so hard?

Brian K. Blount, Professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, in his chapter of the book Struggling with Scripture, 'The Last Word on Biblical Authority', says this:

It's supposed to be hard, stupid! Whoever would be my disciple must take up my hard cross and follow, follow daily, follow into tomorrow, where every word is a living word for people living where they are in their present and future, not in somebody else's past. ...

When you talk this way ... you get fear. I've heard the words time and time again. 'You're taking away my faith when you tell me all of this stuff about interpreting the words, understanding the words in light of our living, and not just taking all the words just as they are, no matter how tied they were to their first-century contexts. You're taking away my faith.' And we listen, we struggle, and we wonder what to say as we tell them we'll try to help them rebuild their faith. When in truth, when they charge, 'You're taking away my faith,' we ought to respond, 'No, this is your faith. Your living faith. I'm trying to give it back to you. This is how the first Christians did faith, aggressively using it to interpret, not just recite their tradition. The Spirit was alive, and the Word of God was on the move. You couldn't catch it, and you couldn't hold it so you'd be safe and secure.'

Why? Because the biblical words are not the last Word. They are the living Word.

We'll let that be our last word. See you next week.

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