Mr Tickle rides again

Some of you may remember that this is not Mr Tickle’s first visit to this blog. He first appeared in a post entitled “Mr Preacher”, along with a number of his colleagues.

The British library has now harnessed his talents for another purpose entirely.  They are about to launch a  project entitled “one language: many voices.’, which will encourage members of the public to read from  the first chapter of Mr Tickle’s story in order to analyse how regional accents are changing. This sound archive will then be studied to map the different pronunciation of words across the country. Never can Mr Tickle have thought he would be involved in such a scholarly exercise! Hopefully the results will be a celebration of the diversity in voice, accent and pronunciation which this country has to offer.

A year or so ago I got into a conversation about preaching with my local Sikh pharmacist.  He was amazed to hear that different sermons would be preached in different Christian churches.  His understanding was that in Gurdwaras an ‘official’ message was passed down the line to be disseminated across the country.  One of the glories of Christianity, surely – is our diversity…as celebrated by Pollock and Seurat in a previous post? Even in those church traditions where the Lectionary means that the same passage will form the backbone of the sermon on a Sunday – the approach in every church will be different.  This is a cause for celebration.

Because ours is a living word, its interpretation is an organic, changing, evolving thing. The task of preachers as word-interpreters, is surely to open up its meaning rather than to close it down? This has been one of the reasons for Rob Bell’s popularity as a preacher, I believe. He has sought to recover a Rabbinic tradition of constant reinterpretation of God’s written word in the organic and messy lives of God’s people. Those people are glad to be involved in the process, and pleased that their theological ‘accents’ do not debar them from participating.