So, a few days ago I found myself in a meeting with CODEC colleagues thinking together about the Big Bible website. How to encapsulate what this project is about – given its various strands: Big Bible, BigRead, DigiLit and Digidisciple. There’s a lot going on there. How to gather it with one strapline? Someone came up with ‘Biblically Literate Living Online’. That seems to hold together the goal of equipping people to be Bible savvy, and to think through how that biblical literacy cashes out in the digital world – and of course in the non-digital.
You know how sometimes you hit a vain of inner rage and have to give vent? (Bear with me… this is truly relevant). Recently, I found myself letting off considerable steam about the compartmentalisation of Christian life. ‘Biblically literate living online’ is about busting out of the silos. Let me explain.
I do not want to live a split, compartmentalised life. Sometimes, though, I look at the Church (which I love dearly) and I see and dabble in the pull to compartmentalisation. On the one hand there is the world of mincing niceness, all scrubbed up Sunday best image with its faux piety. Those sermons which drone on and the answer is always Jesus or ‘what the Bible says’ no matter what the question. (By the way I am a big fan of real preaching… more of that some other time). Then there is the rest of life – a wonderful, muddled, muddy, joyous, awful, funny, confusing, hideous, delightful ride. This is the world of new born babies, beautiful sunrises, cancer, idiots who should be banned from driving, internet Trolls, deep passionate love, chemical weapons, unspeakable sadness, depression and stand-up comedy – to give a lightning sketch! I want to live a biblically literate life in that world – the world I know. I want a faith that doesn’t ask me to pretend to be someone I am not, or to suppress the difficult edgy questions in order to keep ‘Churchville’ pink, saccharine and safe.
I am deeply committed to exploring what it means to love the God revealed in the Scriptures – Father, Son and Spirit and to express that love out in the everyday world I recognise.
So ‘Biblically Literate Living Online’ – it’s not a bad strapline for a site that wants to help people to wrestle with scripture honestly, to grow in knowledge and wisdom, and to find ways of expressing the grace, love and forgiveness of God in the everyday.
So may I suggest that we take our metaphorical ‘Sunday Best’ – that superficial ‘I’m fine’ Sunday persona that bears little relation to the engaging, honesty of Jesus, and consign it to the bin.