Sunday 26 November 2006

Bob Dylan on the Bible

“There are over 20 million Bibles distributed every year, and the Bible can be read aloud in 70 hours – though you might want to take a nap between the Old and New Testaments. Nine out of every ten Americans own at least one Bible – what’s up with the other guy?”

—Bob Dylan, Theme Time Radio Hour, Episode 19: “The Bible,” 6 September 2006.


Anonymous said...

He's the Christian!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


All those people with Bibles - which is no guarantee that there is a Christian among them. Maybe the guy without the Bible is the Christian.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kim,

I confess I didn't quite get your joke, but I think the fact so many Americans own Bibles is a hopeful sign of the continuing health of Christianity in the US. Non-theologians like me look to you folks to stretch and correct our faith, but I hope you also see it as part of your brief to articulate and affirm the faith of ordinary Christians. We believe, don't we, in the power of God's Word and Spirit to transform communities that share them, so I think we can expect many good things to result from widespread Bible ownership and church attendance.

I'm not really taking you to task: I'm not even sure what you were implying. I just like to see ordinary Christians being affirmed.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Keith,

Indeed we should affirm the faith of every Christian struggling to work out their salvation in fear and trembling. In fact I think you do yourself a disservice by assuming there is any sort of divide between persons like Kim (who we all recognize as a gifted and eloquent theologian) and the folks you refer to as "ordinary christians". I'm sure Kim would also stand by the protestant motto - a priesthood of all believers. All Christians are called to service in Christ and that implies a commitment to thinking theologically about life issues and engaging in scripture. The widespread reverence for the Bible is definitely a hopeful sign in this sense.

However, we also cannot mistake having a Bible for being a Christian. Nor even is Biblical literacy the primary criterion. The primary criterion is love and by that standard we are falling very very short. So short that it can induce cynicism about the culture which promotes Biblical faith while denying everything that the revealed Word of God, that the Bible testifies to, means and demands.

In this sense it can appear that we are in a topsy turvery world where much like Jesus' day where the most outwardly religious "the pharisees" are in fact inwardly bankrupt and it might make more sense to identify the Christian person as the one who is least obvious about it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Miner, for nicely putting what this old smart alec was thinking. Is that okay, Jonathan? We are all "ordinary" Christians.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Kim didn't mean to slight the average Bible-believer - it was only a joke after all! I also take the miner's point that people can be outwardly religious and inwardly bankrupt. But since the subject of the ordinary believer is on the table, let me say this. Many Christians who have unchristlike attitudes in some areas of life display evidence of spiritual transformation in other areas. For example, I've been shocked by some of the heartless statements that a certain Christian friend of mine has made in defence of our (Australian) government's policies on refugees. Yet this same friend has been very active and self-sacrificing in caring for terminally ill children. In fact, he's done far more for these kids than I've ever done for refugees. My point is that the transforming power of God's Word and Spirit is evident in our Christian communities, sure enough, even if there is still much that needs to change.

Anonymous said...

Did you know that the most viewed book on the planet is the 'IKEA' magazine?
Perhaps this other guy is reading 'that'?

Good joke anyway!

Regards Simon Dumville

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