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thought for the day; emails &letters.

"SHIBBOLETH" is used as a test for detecting people from a particular social class by their pronunciation.

It is, therefore, a way of separating one group from another.

Book of Judges (Chapter 12) describes how the Gileadites captured the Jordan fords, asking anyone wanting to cross to say the word "shibboleth", knowing their enemies' dialect did not include a "sh" sound, so this would be a way of detecting them.

There are lots of Old Testament stories that describe division, but in the New Testament Jesus teaches us to love one another, to "all be one", to be "perfected in unity" (John, Chapter 17). A theme in Luke is Jesus breaking down barriers between people: with Samaritans; tax-collectors; and treating women as equal to men.

Every time we are tempted with "shibboleth", let us remember the teaching of Jesus.

Terri Whitaker, terripwhitaker@
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 23, 2011
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