Magazine article Anglican Journal

Others in Mind: `The Giftie Gie Us"

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Others in Mind: `The Giftie Gie Us"

Article excerpt

IN DECEMBER last year I attended a service of scripture and music created for the Advent season. The music was powerful in content as well as splendidly presented. The lessons were thoughtfully chosen and intelligently read.

We were sitting with friends, one of whom was a member of the parish and the other a Jew. I became aware that content of the service, especially the readings from the prophets but also some of the hymns, would sound very different to that person than they do to me. About the same time I was choosing some books from the new "Church's Teaching Series," educational material for adults produced by the Episcopal Church USA. The series is well-written and thorough, a successor to a series of 50 years ago which had been very influential in shaping my thought as a young student. But I was choosing not for myself, but for a theological student in a country very different from the United States or Canada. I realized that some of these volumes were very culturally conditioned, and though they dealt with themes that are of the essence of the faith, some of them would not be of much use outside North America.

I began to reflect on how easy it is for us to assume that our experiences, and even more our interpretation of experiences, are universally applicable. And this is especially so for those of us who belong to majorities, whether those are majorities of number or of power.

And then a text from a Bible study led me much closer to the heart of the matter. …

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