Comments: Opinion - 7 October 2017

Is the Bible too graphic for kids? The former Methodist leader Alison Tomlinson once told me that children in her church complained that the Bible was boring. 'How have we made the Bible boring?' she said in tones of dismay and mystification. Well, we've done it partly by thinking that passages such as the ones Brown cites are inappropriate for children and young people. They have a diet of violence, brutality and sometimes sex from films, DVDs, daytime TV, the internet and even such books as Harry Potter, and we give them a Bible diet of toned down versions of Noah's Ark (minus drowning people & animals) and the Nativity (minus the Slaughter of the Innocents). No wonder they 'grow out of' the Bible so young.

Years ago I commented to a liturgist that the then-new lectionary omitted passages like the rapes of Dinah and Tamar and the sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter. 'Oh, we don't want things like that read in church!' he replied. But by failing to read these graphic and sometimes brutal accounts in churches and schools we deprive ourselves of opportunities to capture the interest of young people and adults. Worse, we deprive ourselves of the chance to preach on topics which personally affect many thousands of people - and we give the impression that the Church does not know about the realities they have to deal with, and has nothing to say to their situation.

Posted by Janet Fife at Saturday, 7 October 2017 at 12:42pm BST

Lucy Winkett's piece is astoundingly good.

Posted by badman at Saturday, 7 October 2017 at 3:36pm BST

The Andrew Lightbown essay is engaging.


"I suspect, if they were to speak candidly they would both have to acknowledge the limitations of leadership and the notion that all manner of things can be institutionally planned, managed and controlled." This seems to me a good description of the need of people in leadership positions to have a "game face".

His observations on subsidiarity are first rate.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 9 October 2017 at 4:21pm BST

Lucy Winkett's piece is astoundingly good.
I agree, Badman. It certainly is, and deserves a much wider circulation. I am sending copies to the leadership teams at the two small parishes where I am based.

Posted by Edward Prebble at Wednesday, 11 October 2017 at 9:16pm BST

I too agree that Lucy Winkett's piece is excellent. Why is this wise and holy woman not already a bishop in our church?

Posted by Malcolm Dixon at Thursday, 12 October 2017 at 3:21pm BST

Malcolm's question is a good one and of course we can't know the answer. Maybe she doesn't feel called to the episcopacy? Maybe she hasn't been offered the opportunity? Maybe because she is Rector of one of the most progressive churches in the C of E? Who knows. But it is an interesting question

Posted by Andrew Lightbown at Thursday, 12 October 2017 at 9:26pm BST
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