Biblical infection…

I have been a bit quiet here of late as my old laptop completely died, and I have just got a replacement. I am in the frustrating midst of configuring a dual boot system with not a lot of success on either front – Windows is currently faring no better for me than Linux. I can foresee a few more late nights…

Anyway, I happened to read a few snippets in the Herald Sun today (my newspaper of choice when confined to a small table in a cafe) and spotted a few comments concerning the removal of the Gideon's Bible from hospitals in the "Your Say" section. I must confess that I didn't know about this until reading these responses, so if my subsequent rant is ill-informed, please do fill me in on the facts! One writer suggests that the primary reason for banning the Gideon's from the hospital is for infection control. Now the types of diseases that one may catch from the word of God is worth pondering, especially those that one will not catch from your average glossy trash magazine that is probably several years out of date, and I dare say more well-thumbed than the poor old Gideon. Perhaps the fear is more to do with worrying that while patients risk 'catching' spiritual comfort from the bible, others may be offended. Now I come to the bit that really impressed me. A Muslim man wrote in his views. He did not say "burn the Gideons", or how about handing out a bedside edition of the Qur'an alongside or instead of the Bible. He wrote that he and his family/friends felt it was a shame that the Bible had been banished from Victorian hospitals and schools. He described the Bible as a holy book that did not offend him.

As a nation we are wondering how deep our tolerance goes, especially in religious and racial terms. I am not sure that collectively as Christians we are all that different. Except that our notions of tolerance is constrained by an incredible ability to split hairs between denominations, doctrine, ecclesiology, as well as the usual biggies challenging our nation as a whole. This comes partially from our desire to categorise and work out who is in or out. This consumes us so much at times that we miss the bridges. We stand on one side of a divide staring hopelessly to the other, wondering how they will come to us. If only we were not so blind. No wonder so many in our community seem innoculated to the Bible. The Muslim man saw the Bible as a holy book, and I am sure he is not alone. Now there's a bridge if ever I saw one.

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