Reflections on Scriptural Reasoning
"I remember being somewhat confused when I first encountered the practice of Scriptural Reasoning. For a start I had never really read the Qur’an in a focused way and I thought I was pretty strong on the “Old Testament” and of course the New Testament. Why would I want to read them with people of other faiths? My other concern was that friends from other faiths would not really be interested in my opinions of their scriptures and may even be offended by anything I might say. Well, it was a revelation in so many ways.
Scriptural Reasoning is, at its best, a form of quite intimate hospitality where you are invited in to the scared space of another faith’s scriptures and asked to appreciate and reflect on the words that they have loved and venerated over the centuries. You are allowed to ask questions and reveal your ignorance in a safe space that welcomes respectful enquiry. So I was quickly aware that the Old Testament was in fact the “Hebrew Scriptures” from now on, read in a new way through the eyes of others. And the Qur’an a source of wonder and delight in so many ways – with lots of recognisable characters, themes and stories.
But alongside that, I found myself amazed by the insights and epiphanies I received from Muslim and Jewish brothers and sisters as they respectfully enjoyed my “hospitality” asking questions and examining assumptions of the words we, as Christians, know so well. Far from being challenged or disconcerted, I found myself developing a deeper understanding of my own faith as well as a fresh appreciation of Jewish and Muslim scriptures.
If you have tried SR before then do please use this opportunity (Thursday 15 November, 7pm to 9pm, Methodist Central Hall Westminster) for another experience – if you haven’t, may I warmly invite you to come and take part. If you would like to know more then do visit the Scriptural Reasoning website - and do let me know if you are coming."
Michael Wakelin, former Head of Religious Broadcasting at the BBC and Religion and Media consultant.