A Gospel for the Illiterate

During dinner last night Julie brought up that illiteracy has been strongly linked with crime.

Shortly after that, Julie’s parents, who have been involved in prison ministry for over 6 years now, mentioned how some of the inmates in their church tend to be rather quiet during a meeting. They began to wonder how much literacy affects the ability of some inmates to participate in the church.

That led to a discussion about the centrality of the Bible for Christianity in a mostly literate culture. Christianity survived in cultures for years where the majority of the people were illiterate. So we know that Christianity can work for people who can’t read.

But what are the implications for ministry among the illiterate. If we hand out free Bibles, but the recipients can’t read them . . . then what?

That is a really challenging question for me and it forces me to move beyond my assumptions and preconceived notions.

Obviously we should help fight illiteracy, but for the time being, we will also need to consider if some are afraid to approach God because they cannot read his book.