When I became a Christian, I read daily (or almost daily) Bible reading notes, each exploring a particular Bible passage. They were helpful, at least in terms of assisting me to be disciplined about reading the Bible. They were less helpful in that they frequently jumped around the Bible and often implied that there was only one interpretation of a particular passage (to be fair, some did this more than others). They tended to assume that the reader had a rather straightforward view of biblical authority and they almost never drew any explicit social or political meaning out of the passage in question.
In many churches today, hymns have been largely or wholly replaced by worship songs. Some of these are of high quality and accessible to a wider range of worshippers. However, says Savitri Hensman, perhaps there should be more discussion of how this trend may influence the ways in which Christians relate to the Bible and understand themselves, God and the world.
Ask anyone reporting or commenting on the 2013 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and they will tell you that proceedings this year are being dominated by two 'issues': the reception, or otherwise, of same-sex persons in the life and ministry of the Kirk; and later this week 'The inheritance of Abraham: A report on the promised land' (which has provoked a substantial preemptive assault by the pro-Israeli government lobby, on account of its advocacy of justice for Palestinians and Jews alike).
In a previous blog (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17832), I noted the significant coincidence of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama ('Obama, MLK and the dream of a better world').
The Voice, a new translation of the Bible, has sparked an impassioned but not always very well-informed debate about the nature of the text, observes Savi Hensman. But skilful understanding and interpretation invite open-heartedness, not close-mindedness, she suggests.