Thursday, March 11, 2010

MassBible:Learn More About this Best Selling Book


Is that a Mass celebrating the Bible? Or maybe it means that masses of Bibles are available for distribution all over not just in hotels like Gideon Bibles. But it could mean that the Bible is a book in which masses of people can find their own experience and the inspiration and guidance of the divine spirit.

MassBible is the new name for the Massachusetts Bible Society (MBS), Christian ecumenical organization that just celebrated its 200th anniversary, an organization of which I have been a trustee for many years. Massachusetts Bible Society will remain the organization’s corporate identity name.

I’m a trustee because I love the Bible.
My ministry is to study it, preach from it, teach it, pray with it and lend my time and energy to MassBible, an organization whose mission is devoted to it.

The Bible keeps me sane and drives me nuts at once. It is full of inconsistencies, intricate weavings of many voices and traditions; in fact, it’s got everything but the kitchen sink in it. And that’s not an insult but a compliment. The Bible is a rich nutritious stew.

Biblical redactors made wise decisions centuries ago to leave all the interpretive voices in the canon so the overarching message of God’s loving, creating, saving, life-giving intentions toward all Creation could be available to anyone who seeks to enrich her or his faith by praying with and studying the Bible from generation to generation.

My own definition of the Bible is that it is a multi-authored, multi-genre collection (hymns, psalms, poems, teachings, sermons, parables, just plain story) compiled for the single purpose of revealing the divine/human relationship. The main character in the Bible is not God nor humanity but their relationship. That relationship takes center stage and the Bible is the story of its unfolding through thick and thin as the people endeavor to live faithfully with their God who calls them into community to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with their God. (Micah 6:8)

In spite of the lack of consistency in data in the Bible, there is a consistent pattern to the divine/human relationality: connection/disconnection/reconnection. This patterns repeats itself over and over and gives integrity and unity to the whole. Every time there is a disconnection either God or humanity reaches back for reconnection. Nothing, as St. Paul famously wrote to the Church in Rome, can separate us from the love of God. Not even ourselves.

MassBible is committed to the authority of Scripture as a source of wisdom and inspiration. We take the Bible seriously but not literally. It does contain facts but they are incidental to the overall spiritual vision it seeks to convey. It is a primarily a theological not an historical document. We recognize that no one voice or interpretation holds sole authority. We are committed to listening to each other’s understandings. We respect the need for multiple voices and know that the last word has not been spoken.

The mission of MassBible has evolved from the distribution of Bibles by horse drawn wagons to a sophisticated operation including the operation of a bookstore. Today’s focus is on the promotion of biblical literacy through live educational events as well as on line resources such as lectures by biblical scholars, a link to ask your questions of a professor, book reviews and recommendations, and updates on biblical topics, resources and newsworthy developments, even Bible games and a DVD series. MassBible has also established a media center in collaboration with Andover Newton Theological School and located on its campus where our offices are also located.

I invite you to join this centuries-long faith journey that God and humanity are on by learning more about the Bible and the work of MassBible at

You might like to be a trustee. Think about it.