I am totally addicted to our scriptures. I have this wicked old King James Bible that I bought at a thrift store last year for a quarter, some of you know it and have seen it, and well… sometimes I just smell it. It smells so good, the old leather and old paper. I also have to confess that I have most of the English translations on my shelf. I’m sure there’s a few I don’t have, but I have the biggies.
Just yesterday I bought a paperback copy of The Voice, which was introduced a couple years ago, but I don’t claim to spend a lot of time watching what is hitting the scene year to year. I was just snooping the shelves at Barnes and Noble and saw it, picked it up and decided to give it a good home.
This really is a new thing. The goals and diversity of the translators, scholars and artists all come together to create a rendering of our scriptures that is both informative and engaging. In a time when many of us are becoming increasingly conscious of the deficits in some of our traditional readings and interpretations (due often to our favorite English translations), The Voice is helpful for re-hearing the message.
I dig the screenplay aspect. I like that the The Voice will break dialogue into a screenplay format instead of just trying to maintain columns with quotes and paragraph breaks. It does take a little getting used to, since other notes and summaries are included in the text of a passage. My only angst is that pages can almost become cluttered with everything going on.
I’m excited about the way it lends itself to the public reading and presentation of scripture with creativity and life. Wow, that was a long thought. I was so blessed in July to spend a couple of days with Dr. Nancy Gross up at Princeton Theological Seminary to study and practice the public reading of scripture, along with four days refining presentation skills with Dr. Michael Brothers. (You’d think I would be a decent preacher by now, right?) What a great summer to stumble onto The Voice! I’m beginning to tie lots of cool ends together in my head as I read through the translation.
Here’s a review of The Voice that I thought was a balanced approach to weighing it’s strengths and weakness, a review by Dr. Ben Witherington. But of course, the best way to experience a new translation project like this is to, well, experience it. I recommend The Voice if you are finding your engagement with scripture to be a little dry these days. It might be a fresh wind of joy to help rediscover the depth and grace of our sacred writings.
I have my makeup work to share this morning, and today’s poem for #NaPoWriMo. The makeup is for April 1st, and it’s a haiku I wrote this morning when I stopped to spend a moment with some daffodils in the front yard. Today’s poem is a reflection on a sweet, old King James version Bible I found yesterday at a thrift store. It cost me a quarter.
in grasses green and brown –
looks like rain, today
these ancient words speak to me
they bind me fast, they set me free
they graft me to a living tree
these words that were, are and will be
If you’ve been around me much, then you know that civility is an issue that interests me. I surely haven’t perfected the skill of civility, but I do try to use it and I appreciate so much when others do the same. Incivility makes me crazy. I’ve preached about civility and I’ve written about civility.
One of the funner things I’ve done was last year when I blogged and twittered statements about civility each day of October. All that is sitting in another blog of mine that’s been mostly inactive since, The Civil Pen. Those statements tended to be original ideas I wanted to convey, along with famous quotes and statements.
I really enjoyed that month of writing. I enjoyed it so much that I’m back for November of 2013. But this time I want to contribute something to the “theology of civility.” Each day of November, for each and every one of the 30 days, I’m going to blog, Twitter and Facebook a passage of Christian scripture, something from the Old or New Testament, that opens up the wonder and grace of civility. We’ll hear from Jesus, we’ll share ancient Proverbial wisdom, and we’ll dig in with other writers from the New Testament who are actively forming and being formed by the earliest Christian traditions.
I look forward to any and all participation from my circles of friends and family. I will try my best to be first and foremost faithful to God, then respectful of the scriptures and loving of my neighbor. I think it will be fun. I will also be preaching a series on Sunday mornings in November tied to some great scriptural themes on civility that we’ll see emerging from the scriptures, things like “control your anger” and “shut your mouth.” One of my favorite themes is that Jesus doesn’t send us out into the world to “win,” but instead to “make peace.”
Ultimately, I do this because I need it. I need to wrestle with these passages. I need civility planted deep in my heart and mind, and having taken root there, to grow into fruit in my life by which my God is both pleased and honored. If I end up boring you, then I apologize in advance. If this resonates and moves with you, if we make some connections that vibrate in your soul and cause us to dialogue and pray, then I will be satisfied. Either way, I commit the journey to God.
The stuff I’m writing and throwing out there will be available through my Twitter account (@Swirlyfoot) and my Facebook (also Swirlyfoot), and my own blog here (A Faithful Path) as well as our Church in Bethesda Blog. You’re invited to follow along as best suits your tastes.
Wise words from Romans 14:22
“So whatever you believe about these things
keep between yourself and God.”
Why don’t we ever hear more sermons on such a great idea? Why don’t I preach on it more? There’s a truth loose in the world and it goes something like this… “You don’t need to hear my views on everything, or vice versa.” Please, Mr. Robertson, enough.
Paul has struggled through a very sticky situation in his Roman letter. It’s a moral, ethical and spiritual question with huge impact on the civil, secular, communal and daily lives of believers. Should a believer eat food that is consecrated to another god? And if so, or if not, to what lengths do they go to discover if it has been consecrated or not? The whole thing has very little meaning to many Christians today, but we do have our own big questions, moral questions, ethical questions, questions that impact our daily lives. And we spend a lot of time expressing opinions, many of which are hurtful and uncharitable.
Paul’s solution? In part, silence. Respectful. Silence. Quiet time with God.
I don’t question Mr. Robertson’s right to hold views on the causality of earthquakes or the relationship between what we call natural disasters and the impact of spiritual powers in the world. I just wish he’d keep most them to himself. Instead, he heaps blame and shame on an already suffering, impoverished and destitute population. Not what I define as a “Charitable Act.”
I could go on, but that’s pretty much it.
Lord God, in your mercy,
hear our prayers and pour out your peace,
hope and blessing on the people of Haiti.