Saturday, 24 September 2011

Long live the Book!

Once again, Jonathan Sacks has given me pause for thought (see Jonathan Sacks and the Bible). This time, it is through quoting Caitlin Moran in today's Times. In a Times Magazine article dated 13 August 2011, she wrote about libraries:
'Libraries are cathedrals of the mind; hospitals of the soul; theme parks of the imagination.'

I must confess that I missed Moran's original article, but what a beautiful turn of phrase. My thoughts turn to that most mobile of libraries, apart from the Kindle: the Bible. Sixty-six books of history, law, prophecy, poetry, wisdom, biography, story, letter-writing and gospel. Does Moran's quote work if you substitute 'bibles' for 'cathedrals of the mind'? I think it does!

  • The Bible is a cathedral of the mind. As we read it, it expands our horizons. We can be lifted in praise and worship through its pages, 'to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple' (Psalm 27:4). We can be challenged to examine our own preconceptions and to ask whether God is saying something else?
  • The Bible is a hospital of the soul. Many are the times when the reading of it has reassured believers in their doubt, and soothed the hearts of seekers. The Bible reveals the living God who brings forgiveness and healing to those that seek.
  • The Bible is a theme park of the imagination. I love this idea! So often, Christians use the Bible as a book of rules, and drily quote chapter and verse from its pages. That seems to reduce it to the level of mere printed text. Surely, a book such as Revelation was given not so much as predictive prophecy, but more to stimulate the imagination as to how the world (and the new heaven and new earth) might be when lived in the knowledge of the presence of the Risen Christ?
I can see this blog entry becoming a sermon, or even a series, in my own church. For now, I'll close with another quote, this time from Isaac Bashevis Singer, also used today by Sacks:

'God is a writer and we are his co-authors.'

May God write us all into his book, and may we write with him!

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