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April 22, 2007

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Graeme Clark

Thank you for drawing my attention to this thoughtful lecture which I have found most helpful in my current work in writing about 'Imaginative Use of the Bible in Pastoral Care'.

Rowan Williams' key emphasis on the public and community nature of bible reading "before Scripture is read in private, it is heard in public" is central as are his two key principles:

1. when we are dealing with texts that are grammatically addressed to a specific audience, we are being asked to imagine that historically remote audience as not only continuous with us but in some sense one with us.

2. in dealing with texts that are not grammatically directed in this way, we are obliged to ask, 'What does this text suggest or imply about the changes which reading it or hearing it might bring about?'

Of particular help for pastoral care is his warning about the danger of not using imagination in our reading of the bible so that our reading is "processed into whatever most concerns us now and subjected to the criteria by which we judge something as useful or useless for the time of our plans and projects."

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