View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 2 September 2011

Scriptural interpretation

A minister in the Free Church of Scotland has written to his Presbytery to resign as a minister and to be deleted from the register of retired ministers. Why? Because the Free Church recently proposed to introduce hymns into the service. Until recently, hymns and musical instruments were not permitted. The Reverend Macdonald is seriously upset that, after 47 years, he feels he is forced to this move. Introducing hymns is, in his view, unscriptural and sinful. More on this link.

I respect everybody's religious convictions, and am also prepared to acknowledge that different people have different forms of worship, and that some forms may be repugnant to other people, for quite genuine reasons.

I resent, however, the fact that people are condemning each other because of differing interpretations of the Bible, which is what happens a lot. Don't forget that the Bible has been translated several times, has come down over literally thousands of years. More to the point, who on Earth does anyone think they are when they claim know exactly what was meant by our Deity when He commanded whoever to write down His Word? It is the job of a Minister of the Church to interpret the Scriptures to the best of his ability and conscience, in order that his congregation can best be helped in dealing with the major (and minor) issues of life. The form of worship, with all respect to the Reverend Macdonald, is a minor side issue to that.

The Protestant Church is infamous for its multitudes of splits and schisms, brought about by differing interpretations, and each faction defending to the hilt the notion that they have it right, and when someone doesn't agree, they are wrong. I am all for a healthy discussion. I am strongly opposed to rigidly imposed dogma - something that both Protestant and Catholic Churches are very good at.

Some 30 years ago, I was invited to a meeting, hosted by the Opus Dei organisation. They were trying to convert young students to the Roman Catholic faith, and possibly recruit them into their organisation. They did a good job at convincing me that I could not do so. I do not accept certain tenets of the RC faith (that's a personal opinion), but I have a great respect for that Church nonetheless. Some of my best friends over the years have been Orthodox Roman Catholics. But it would appear to me that the rigid dogma of the RC Church has been copied by certain sections of the Free Church of Scotland - a comparison that will not sit very well with certain members of that Church.

Friday 2 September

I just had a look at the sidebar for my blog, and everything points towards autumn. My blogoversary will be on October 8th, the Royal National Mod is on from October 15th and my "seasonal" image is from October 2007.

It shows a derelict cottage along the shores of Loch Seaforth at Airidh a'Bhruaich. The russet browns of the dying bracken are much in evidence. The weather is quite autumnal as well, with dark clouds, a little sunshine and showers. The mercury now only just manages 60F, and that will very soon be a thing of the past for this part of the world. There were two cruiseliners in, the Marco Polo (a regular visitor here, on its 3rd call this season) and the Vistamar, which felt its way into Glumag Harbour this morning. The ferry had to squeeze past both vessels at 2 o'clock this afternoon.

Earlier this year, a lady driving a car just north of Tarbert was signalled by police officers to stop. Local rumour has it that she allegedly gave them "the finger". She did not stop. The driver continued over the Clisham, into Lewis, through Balallan, Laxay, Leurbost into Stornoway, where she turned left. Traversing the Barvas Moor, then turning right at Barvas, finally pulling up at Dell. For 60 (yes, sixty) miles, she had been ignoring blue flashing lights in her rear-view mirror. The woman is due in court next month on charges of failing to stop for police, and she has pled not guilty.