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Dear Friends in Valhalla Parish—

How have your thoughts and feelings about the Bible changed over the years? 

I grew up in a devout Christian household. Throughout my childhood, whether at dinner time or before bed (sometimes both!) we would read from the scriptures. Sometimes it was a children's bible. Other times my mom would pick up her well-worn leather-bound NIV or a paperback Good News Bible with stick figure sketches, given to us by the pastor at our small Baptist church. 

Growing up, faith was at the heart of our family life. The Bible and all the stories in that great library were at the heart of our conversations. The Bible and its world informed our world and the way we lived. In so many ways, the Bible was my world. The stories of the bible were the stories in which I found my self. 

Stories of awe and wonder. Stories of freedom. Stories of heart-stopping miracles and soul-satisfying salvation. Stories of beauty and mystery. Stories of a people—God's people—showing us a better way to live. 

As I grew older, through my teenage years, and as I moved out on my own, I found myself asking different questions.

Bible study was still a regular part of my practice. Now I found myself reading a lot more widely through courses in philosophy, English literature, and history. As I read more and more widely, the black and white take of my childhood world faded to grey. I started to wonder: what place does the Bible have in a world such as this—a world with just as much injustice and violence as freedom and liberation?

These are questions many of us have wrestled with over the years. Some days, like the biblical Jacob, we still wrestle, seeking God's blessing.  

Throughout Lent, we will be taking a look at the bible through the lens of Rachel Held Evans' book, "Inspired: Slaying Giants, Walking on Water, and Loving the Bible Again." This six week study will take place on Tuesday nights at 7.00pm on Zoom.

This study is not limited to folks here in Valhalla Parish, but to friends, family, folks from other parishes and beyond the church who are interested in taking some intentional time in the Lenten season to read the book. We will discuss the book, we will explore our own stories, and we will explore our own relationship to the scriptures, and through them, God's dream for a world of justice and joy, compassion and peace.

I hope that you'll join us. If you want to find out more or to register, click here

Every Blessing, 

Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Valhalla Parish Missioner