Saturday, June 17, 2006

Blogging the Bible

One of the reasons I started this blog was to blog the Bible. I got the idea from David Plotz over at Slate. As a nominal Jew, he describes his experience at a cousin's bat mitzvah. Being bored out of his mind, he picks up a Bible from the pew in front of him. Arriving at Genesis 34, he is soon engrossed in the sordid story of the rape of Dinah and the revenge of Jacob's sons.
So, the tale of Dinah unsettled me, to say the least. If this story was strutting cheerfully through the back half of Genesis, what else had I forgotten or never learned? I decided I would, for the first time as an adult, read the Bible. And I would blog about it as I went along.

I want to find out what happens when an ignorant person actually reads the book on which his religion is based.
I've enjoyed David's writing so far - it's refreshing to see someone take the story on its own terms and wrestle with it. I've known many devout people bending over backwards to justify dreadful things in the Old Testament, but he's not afraid to decry parts that seem horrible to him. I've also known unbelievers who read the Bible simply to mock and criticize, but David doesn't let his difficulties blind him to the deep and wonderful things.

Now, what does this have to do with me, a lifelong Christian? Blogs about reading a book I've read all my life don't sound too exciting. And maybe it isn't exciting, and I don't really expect that many readers. However, it does seem like a really good idea for any Christian - to read the entire Bible, reflect on it, honestly write what comes to mind, and welcome conversation from others.
  • I want to engage the text - to not shy away from the parts that jar and even disgust me, and to see the parts I've always loved with new eyes.

  • I want to focus on more than individual passages or stories - to let the grand sweep of the narrative carry me to places further up and further in.

  • I want to invite others to come along with me - to show me things I'm missing, and to tell me what thoughts resonate and which ones don't.
To be honest, it's probably not something that I'd actually finish if I didn't have some sort of public face and accountability. So, to those of you who are interested, thanks for joining me. I appreciate the company.

Sounds good to me. I am not all that good at keeping up on blogs, but I will check in now and then.

I was intrigued by your defense of your beliefs on "Christian and Atheist" podcast ... I always viewed Genesis as Adam had everything he needed to obey ... he was perfect. It wasn't God who moved away from man, it was man who hid from God, and we have done so ever since ... It amazes me that God is still seeking us out! What love. I would have given up on us a long time ago. Will continue to read.

Thanks! I hope you find some of the conversation here fruitful.

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