This issue of Journey looks at the Bible, a book written over a 1500 year period by more than 40 authors from every walk of life.
Read by more people and published in more languages than any other book in history, the Bible has been translated, retranslated, and paraphrased more than any other book which has ever existed.
The Bible is also probably the most quoted, most referenced and most studied book ever, and has spawned countless Bible encyclopaedias, lexicons, atlases, commentaries and concordances.
It has also led to libraries of biblical interpretation, doctrine, theology, apologetics, religious education, church history, devotional writings, hymns and endless other works.
It would be impossible to do justice to the Bible in one small newspaper but Journey was keen to present just some issues and information which might stimulate conversation around the church.
As a teenager I was made to feel guilty about my inability to discipline myself to the “daily quiet time” which was seemingly mandatory for serious Christian disciples.
I also experienced the usual problems of getting bogged down in “proof-texting” individual verses until I lost sight of the big themes of the Bible: the salvation found in Jesus Christ and expressed in love, forgiveness, grace, liberation, justice, peace, and the goodness of creation.
I now read the Bible very differently and it speaks to my life in very different ways. As I get older I believe less in the inerrancy of the scriptures, yet find they occupy a more profound and important place in directing my life and actions.
It is the prayer of the Journey team that this issue of Journey might awaken in you a new enthusiasm to engage with the Christian scriptures and discover new insights and motivation in God’s very precious word.
We are very conscious that some readers will find the stories from the West End conversation (Finding the gift of a safe space) confronting.
What has been shared in that article are just snippets from real life stories shared by two Christian homosexual people.
While as Christians we might argue about doctrine, theology and ethics, the testimony of another is not something to argue with, simply something to listen to and consider.
While we will not all agree with the suppositions implied, we ask that readers respect what has been shared in vulnerability and honesty.
A big thanks to all those congregations who took up the vision for the Gifts of Time and Love Christmas project for 2005.
Over 230,000 postwcards will be delivered to letterboxes across Queensland in the next few weeks and 1500 posters will be placed on noticeboards in schools, shopping centres and sporting clubs.
This is a huge statement about the commitment of congregations to engage with their wider community and open the doors of their churches to all who might wish to worship this Christmas.
While it would be unrealistic to expect that a few postcards will lead to full churches on 25 December, the Uniting Church in Queensland has made a clear statement to the community and it will be heard.