Wednesday, January 18, 2006

In the Beginning...

In the beginning, God created a world, and saw that it was good.

Here I begin a journey that I feel led to take: a journey into a large and difficult but profoundly important text that almost everyone knows about but few have read completely.

While I have long had "read the whole Bible" on my list of "things I'd like to do someday," it wasn't until earlier this month that I suddenly wanted to get started now. I am not even sure what exactly prompted this decision. While it is true that I am a little embarrassed to confess that I have never read through the whole Bible, it wasn't embarrassment that prompted me. It was something else. An awareness crystallized before me that the Bible shapes a lot more of everyone's thinking than people realize. I had the strong sense that if I read the entire Bible through, my understanding of history, literature, and current events would deepen.

Other times when I've tried to start reading the Bible, I did so because it was supposed to be spiritually illuminating. But I'd come across a passage like Genesis 19:6-8 and would slam the book shut in shocked disbelief and wonder how anyone could take such a book seriously! What is this supposed to mean? Why and how is this supposed to be spiritually illuminating? Well-intentioned friends and teachers would try to point me to interpretive materials that would help me to understand how the Bible as a whole was constructed.

So I took courses and studied interpretations and learned so much that I ended up mostly bypassing the actual reading of the text itself, except for recommended passages and the passages that get quoted and read aloud over and over again. I began almost to think that sticking with this "broken Bible" -- the Bible one can re-construct in one's own mind from the Bible stories one has heard and from the quotations that others do find spiritually illuminating -- was enough.

And maybe that "broken Bible" is enough for most people's spiritual journeys.

But now I feel called to face the Bible in its entirety. I will share my thoughts and questions along the way. Anyone who is interested can feel free to chime in with interpretations or additional observations and questions.

This feels like a journey -- into a different time and place, and into very different ways of thinking. I look forward to seeing what I will discover.

1 comment:

  1. "broken bible" it's the first time i read the term and it makes so much sense, I been thinking about it for many nights and i thought-I would not recommend any movie or book to a friend and tell him/her to start the movie or book from the end, then go back to the beginning in order to understand the middle- But i know that is how many religious groups teach the bible and that's how they manage to control their crowd, by only reading the bible's passages that support their teachings and dogma.

    Hey I started from the genesis too. The problem with me i get stuck on one line for days in order to get to the truth, But then again "what is truth?"