View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday 22 November

After yesterday's calm weather, the wind is beginning to whip up towards galeforce as I type this (2.40pm). More gales on Thursday, with the remnant of tropical disturbance 99L scooting into the Arctic past the Outer Hebrides. I think we should be on our guard, because if this system gets closer than the weathercharts currently predict, we should not be surprised at stormforce winds.

I read an awful letter on the local news website, which (to my mind) serves to reinforce the undeserved impression that Lewis is a place of religious intolerance. A fault of Protestantism is the differing interpretations of the Bible, and everybody claiming to have a hotline to God or Jesus Christ, implying that their reading of the Scriptures is the one that was intended. The Bible, as we all know, is a collection of scriptures, handed down over hundreds if not thousands of years, through translation out of Hebrew, Greek, Latin and what not. I only have to refer to the example of the word caritas to show the pitfalls of translations. I am currently reading the Qu'ran, and this claims that mankind did not get the message out of the Torah or the Gospel; and it does not look as if they got the message out of the Qu'ran either. Or from Martin Luther, Erasmus, Dr Chalmers or whoever. I grew up in Holland, which has two different Dutch Reformed Churches - they are designated by two different words in Dutch for "reformed". The church in my home village is now part of an oecumenical triangle of the two Reformed Churches as well as the Roman Catholic church in the next town. The pastor who wrote the letter is all against people talking to each other. That is how wars start. That is how the situation in Northern Ireland spiralled out of control in the 1970s and on. And that is exactly how NOT to proceed. I hope those attending the service on the second Sunday of Advent will have an enlightening experience.