A very big thankyou (the bloggers in-phrase is 'hat tip' I think...) to Malcolm Chamberlain, newly discovered blog (via Steve Tilleys comments on what sort of evangelical is the right one) for this fantastic bit of wisdom from Tom Wright:
"In Christian theology, such phrases [as "the authority of Scripture"] regularly act as “portable stories”—that is, ways of packing up longer narratives about God, Jesus, the Church and the world, folding them away into convenient suitcases, and then carrying them about with us. Shorthands enable us to pick up lots of complicated things and carry them around all together. But we should never forget that the point in doing so, like the point of carrying belongings in a suitcase, is that what has been packed away can then be unpacked and put to use in the new location. Too much debate about scriptural authority has had the form of people hitting one another with locked suitcases. It is time to unpack our shorthand doctrines, to lay them out and inspect them. Long years in a suitcase may have made some of the contents go moldy. They will benefit from fresh air, and perhaps a hot iron." (emphasis mine)
this is an extract from an interview with the excellent Wittenberg Door, the original Christian satire magazine.