A Statement from The Right Reverend Nicholas Knisely, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island, in response to this week’s TIME Magazine article “the Most God-less Cities in America” which ranks Providence at #1
A recent survey by the American Bible Society has determined that, according to their criteria, Providence and New Bedford are the least biblically minded cities in the United States. I disagree strongly with the criteria they used to make that assessment. Being a biblically minded person isn’t a matter of memorization, or of reading the Bible on your own once a week. A biblically minded person is someone who deeply understands and lives the values of the Gospel, not someone who merely reads it often.
The gospel calls us to love others, be kind, be generous, speak out for the poor and excluded, and to welcome the stranger in our midst. I have seen that behavior daily in Rhode Island since I was consecrated Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rhode Island last year.
That said, I’m certainly in favor of people engaging in a regular way with Holy Scripture. Another recent study pointed out that while Episcopalians are not as likely to read their Bibles individually during the week, they are the people who read the Bible the most, together in Sunday and daily worship. Our lectionary takes us through the entire Bible together every three years. We read the Bible, we just read it differently. That’s true of all the liturgical churches, which are the largest expression of Christianity here in Rhode Island.
+Bishop Knisely[1.29.14] Update: Check out Time Magazine’s new article “Actually, These are the Most Godless Cities in America” in response to Bishop Knisely’s statement and the ensuing debate.