Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Survey Results

Thank you to everyone who voted in and commented on the survey! I think it was quite successful. I got a lot of good responses, both here and to my post on facebook.

Here are the official results:

Total number of votes: 28
  1. Read a little bit from the Old Testament and a little bit from the New Testament each day. (16 votes, 57%)
  2. Read the gospels over and over until you get it. (11 votes, 39%)
  3. Turn back to page one and try again. (5 votes, 17%)
  4. Start from the end and work your way back to the beginning. (4 votes, 14%)
  5. What do you need it for after you read it? (3 votes, 10%)
People also suggested many other books that I could read:
  • The Koran
  • Brief History of Time and The Universe in a Nutshell, by Stephen Hawking
  • Tao te Ching
  • The Essential Rumi
  • The Tibetan book of the Dead
  • Bhagavad-Gita
  • The Essential Kabbalah
  • The Way of a Pilgrim
  • Siddhartha
  • Awakening the Buddha Within
  • the books of the Apocrypha
  • The Untold Story of the New Testament Church, by Frank Viola
  • Prophet and Teacher, by William Herzog
  • The New Testament and the People of God, by NT Wright
  • Daily Light on the daily path, from the Billy Graham Association
  • Authors: Bart D Ehrman, David Boulton, and Karen Armstrong
And there were lots of great ideas for things I could do:
  • Write a new Bible
  • a series of Lectio Divina either directed or random selections from the NT and maybe the wisdom books of the OT
  • Jager-bomb
  • lay the Bible on the table, use a blow dryer to select a random page and then stick a pin in a verse blindfolded and then live that verse out in a literal fashion for the day!
  • get a copy of "The Untold Story of the New Testament Church" by Frank Viola and go through Acts and the Pauline epistles using it as a study guide
  • read the NT over again, but in the order it was actually written
  • start memorizing passages
  • spend some time letting all this percolate
  • read around the Bible, and have it to hand to see what the authors are talking about
  • know the main reason I'm reading the Bible that day
  • start reading it with other people
Reading everyone's responses made me think about why I started reading the Bible again in the first place. Although this was my first time reading the Bible from cover to cover, it was definitely not my first time reading the Bible.

I don't think it would be too much of a stretch to say that I grew up in a Bible immersion program. From kindergarten until eighth grade, I attended Sonrise Christian School, where we prayed every day (usually several times), had chapel once a week, and in addition to having a Bible class, memory verse was a graded subject (a subject I actually failed one semester in fourth grade, but that's another story). If we spoke out of turn in class, instead of having us write lines, the teacher would keep us in for recess copying out every verse in the concordance under "silence." And all through my childhood, my Dad would read us a chapter of the Bible every night before bed.

I have written before about my falling out with Christianity. A big part of the problem for me was how I saw people using the Bible as a weapon to condemn and alienate others. I wanted nothing to do with it, so I stopped reading the Bible (and going to church). Other than using my knowledge of biblical references to impress literature professors at my godless university, I didn't really think about it much.

But then, about ten years later, I found myself in an unprogrammed Friends meeting with a sudden urge to try reading the Bible again. It made me nervous. I wasn't sure what reading the Bible would do to me and I think I was afraid that I would have some extreme reaction―either become a fundamentalist or blow off all religion again.

Fortunately, neither of those things happened. I mentioned to my Mom that I thought it would be good to read the Bible in a different translation and asked her to send one of the many Bibles my parents have at their house. She went out and bought me a new Bible in the Message translation, which is the one I am close to finishing.

By reading the Bible, I was trying to bring something from my childhood into my present to see if it has life. I was also trying to take texts that had become so familiar that I could no longer see them and read them with new eyes.

It has been a very rich experience for me and one that I have tried to document to some extent on this blog. Just as it was in my childhood, the Bible is at times beautiful, violent, funny,
frustrating, comforting, inspiring, and baffling. I don't think I am any closer to understanding it than I was when I started Genesis over a year ago, but I am glad I have given it a try.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.