Recently, on November 8th, I attended an informative lecture and discussion hosted by Church of the Ascension.

The topic “A Life Giving Story: How to Read the Bible” was given by Dr Sylvia Keesmaat, a noted biblical scholar and writer who has studied and worked extensively in areas of interpreting scripture and making it relevant to our times.

Dr Keesmaat was eloquent in her explanation of some of the more controversial passages of the bible as related to human sexuality and offered guidance that may assist us as individuals and also as a congregation, to interpret these passages in a meaningful way as we strive for a deeper understanding of God’s message through a sometimes conflicted and often harshly portrayed historical context.

Reference was also made to the many factors that formed the framework for the writings of biblical times. Gender, political and social status, variations in the use of language and cultural differences were major influences as well of course, the limited knowledge and resources available to scholars and writers of the time period. Also the many subsequent revisions, translations and versions of the bible have all affected the interpretations of the scriptures as we know and accept today.

There was an open discussion after the talk that was well received and many thoughts, concerns and good ideas were expressed about how we may move forward as a church and a community in love and acceptance towards others and ensure that we provide a safe and welcoming place of fellowship and worship for all.

We hope to plan a future event with Dr Keesmaat, so watch for more details to come!