Friday, October 12, 2007

Post 200: The B-I-B-L-E Friday Five

Yay! My 200th post. If you go back to the earliest ones, you'll see I never thought I'd get this far!

From Mother Laura at RevGalBlogPals:
I have been thinking a lot about the Bible recently, and how we encounter it as God's Word--or don't--in our lives, prayer, and ministry.
So, in that spirit, I offer my first Friday Five. I'm looking forward to hearing everyone's experience and reflection on these B-I-B-L-E questions:

1. What is your earliest memory of encountering a biblical text?
This is a tough one. We didn't go to church much before I was about 10 or 11, except during the summers when we went to church and VBS. I remember our Christmas Eve ritual, which was to sit around the tree and have a family reading of the Nativity story from my old Young Reader's Bible. I think I still have it somewhere.

2. What is your favorite biblical translation, and why? (You might have a few for different purposes).
I like the Message for everyday reading and devotions, and I use it sometimes with my youth group and our evening contemporary worship service. I like the accessibility of this modern language paraphrase. For study, preaching, etc., I'm most fond of the NIV and NRSV; I'm most familiar with them and perhaps that's why. I do also sometimes like the King James, mainly for certain texts that are sort of imprinted in my memory in KJV.

3. What is your favorite book of the Bible? Your favorite verse/passage?
Colossians, hands down. Don't know why, exactly, but I've always felt it to be "mine" in a deeper way than the rest of the Bible. I love Philippians, too, especially the first part of the 4th chapter.

4. Which book of the Bible do you consider, in Luther's famous words about James, to be "an epistle of straw?" Which verse(s) make you want to scream?
1 Timothy 2:11-15, of course, and also for a less obvious reason. If I'm to be saved through child-bearing, then am I condemned since I can't? What a load of misogynistic crap. Even trying to understand it in it's historical context makes me mad. Paul, despite himself, frequently sent greetings to women who had churches in their homes or lead local churches in other ways. But this author claiming Pauline tradition does not...even 2 Timothy recognizes women in the church in the last chapter.

5. Inclusive language in biblical translation and liturgical proclamation: for, against, or neutral?
For, to the extent that it makes sense in context. As our language shifts, using the masculine tense when we mean both male and female is becoming less normative. It's appropriate to me to clarify these relationships with inclusive language sometimes. Against, when it is unnecessary to understanding a text or contributes to confusion. I find it unsatisfying to address God as she or it; I think of the Father and Son as male (go figure) and the Spirit as an it. This makes sense and is comfortable for me. I am most comfortable simply avoiding the pronouns when dealing with God. What's wrong with calling God "God", anyway?

Bonus: Back to the Psalms--which one best speaks the prayer of your heart?
Psalm 139, which used to hang in my office. I have 2 walls of bookcases now, and I miss it.

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, [a] you are there.

9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.


  1. I definitely hear you on Psalm 139!

  2. That's such a beautiful piece of 139.

  3. Your psalm choice is definitely in the lead as most people's favorite.

    I was thinking of other misogynistic stuff for my own "scream" passages and forgot that one. You are so right about how offensive it is.

  4. Happy 200, great play- I quoted Ps. 139 too!

  5. mmm yes the baby-thing always gets to me to... or should i say child-bearing to 'earn' salvation thing... ick. i worry over it which is STUPID b/c it just doesn't jive with the rest of scripture... so remind me why did it make it into the biblical cannon again? mmmm....

    oh I know good reasons blah blah blah... scream scream scream... i better drink decaf before bed. :)


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