In many churches today, hymns have been largely or wholly replaced by worship songs. Some of these are of high quality and accessible to a wider range of worshippers. However, says Savitri Hensman, perhaps there should be more discussion of how this trend may influence the ways in which Christians relate to the Bible and understand themselves, God and the world.
Ask anyone reporting or commenting on the 2013 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and they will tell you that proceedings this year are being dominated by two 'issues': the reception, or otherwise, of same-sex persons in the life and ministry of the Kirk; and later this week 'The inheritance of Abraham: A report on the promised land' (which has provoked a substantial preemptive assault by the pro-Israeli government lobby, on account of its advocacy of justice for Palestinians and Jews alike).
In a previous blog (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17832), I noted the significant coincidence of Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the United States with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama ('Obama, MLK and the dream of a better world').
The Voice, a new translation of the Bible, has sparked an impassioned but not always very well-informed debate about the nature of the text, observes Savi Hensman. But skilful understanding and interpretation invite open-heartedness, not close-mindedness, she suggests.