We are social animals
It is a truism to say that we live in a global village – my twitterverse and blogosphere (and I imagine yours as well) include residents of Australia, Canada, Guatemala, New Zealand and the USA. These ‘groups’ are permeable, transitory and fluid. Because my major interest is in Christianity, and I am guessing that if you read this website yours is too, it seems likely that many of the people in our separate groups overlap. This is truly a ‘Big Society’!
‘Genesis…tells us of the provenance of human society in a world in which it is not good to be alone. Adam and Eve’s togetherness is fundamental to who they are; it is the state in which they exist, not chosen but given…our social state is just as real and …there is no way of escaping it; we are social creatures whether we like it or not…Hooker…reasoned that…rich forms of being together were necessary if people were to be true to their human nature. ..Four centuries later William Temple said much the same thing…[they] contend that alone none of us can live the life we aspire to: we need other people to make up for what we lack. A life lived in profound relationship with others is a successful life.’
So say Malcolm Turnbull and Donald McFadyen in ‘The state of the Church and the Church of the State’.
A house group for Lent
If you accept this, it is understandable that when we study the Bible, many of us like to exchange ideas with others about the interpretation of texts that are nearly two thousand years old, and almost no one is reading in the original language. Hence, in part, the Big Bible Project and the Big Read 2012.
This year, we at Lay Anglicana thought that we would try to form a permeable, transitory and fluid house group on our forum to join the Big Read 2012 in studying Mark’s gospel and Tom Wright’s book. There is something rather special about joining in with people from all over the world to discuss the same gospel extract on the same day: we will really set the ether buzzing!
The idea is to use the existing Lay Anglicana Forum. One or two people have suggested possibly more exciting ideas such as Skype, MSN and Google+. It is true that forums (OK, fora!) are “so five years ago” as someone said, but they have the advantage of offering the time for considered assessment and still seem to work well for the Ship of Fools, who have been discussing John’s gospel since 2006 and have only just reached Chapter 6 they have so much to say to each other! Their discussion is on the Kerygmania board, and is extremely erudite. I hope that we will take our ‘Goldilocks theology’ line from Tom Wright so that any erudite theologians amongst us will temper their exegetic wind to the shorn lambs in the group!
Please join us
If you would like to join us, I am afraid you will need to register as a member of the forum here. I am sorry that it is necessary to ask you to do this, but spam members and comments have made it necessary. (This is not an ulterior way of recruiting you as permanent members – I will cheerfully cancel your membership after Lent if you would like me to do so!). You will find it helpful to get a copy of Tom Wright’s book on Mark, but it is not essential.
How it works
I am hoping the mechanics need not be too complicated. We will ask you to begin by reading the chosen extract from Mark each day. If you have Tom Wright’s book, then please read what he has to say. There will be podcasts. We will then discuss. Let’s hope it works!
The illustration is ‘The Word‘ by Tim Coleman via 12Baskets. He says:
The image is about the Bible. It rests on the earth; Scroll = old testament; pages = new testament; dove = inspiration of the Holy Spirit; Tree = root of Jesse; Pathway = Highway of holiness; Signpost = John the Baptist; path way leads to the cross the tomb and the Heavenly city; God the creator speaks (top RH corner)