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If you are a Biblical literalist, as some of you may be, what I've just said most likely bothers you greatly. You believe, not only that the Bible is Divinely-dictated and error-free, but you also believe that whatever it says must be taken as literally and factually true.
The Bible is neither an operating manual nor a policy book. In all its soaring ideals and unsettling messiness, it reflects to us -- sometimes clearly, sometimes dimly -- what we might find near to God's heart.