Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Eager students

Started the day today with a group of schools workers who'd asked me to go and give them an overview of Mark's gospel on which they are basing all the assemblies they're doing this term.

It's the kind of thing I love doing - sharing the fruits of scholarship with an audience that doesn't usually read scholarly material.

The best part of it was a conversation I had afterwards with a young women who asked where I got my information from because she really wanted to follow ideas up and get answers to some of her questions about how we read and understand the Bible.

It confirmed that I want to write the social history of the New Testament book that I'm still negotiating on because as I was suggesting things for this woman to read, there was nothing that covered the waterfront for a mid-level audience.

She also confirms that there is an audience for this kind of material among people in our churches. This suggests not only that we need more books for such folk (and web sites and interactive learning aids, etc) but also that our preaching needs to tackle these issues in a slightly meatier way. I think we sometimes feel that our congregations are afraid of facts, history and debates about how to read texts. In fact, many of them are eager for such stuff and we owe it to them.

So, I'm going to start writing it anyway...

Actually, I've got to start because I'm teaching the course on which it's based in Sri Lanka this summer and I need to revise my entire set of notes - so I can kill two birds with one stone.

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